The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 21, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-21 | Food purchase program vital to needy

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — For hungry Pennsylvanians, Thanksgiving is hardly a time for cheer or celebration. It’s simply another day in the yearlong struggle to put healthy food on the table. And across the state, the number of families seeking food assistance is on the rise.

More than 1.36 million Pennsylvanians now qualify for the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP), including thousands in our own county. Few may actually know about SFPP, but at times like these, they can certainly appreciate its value.

For more than two decades, SFPP has been among our most significant tools in the fight against hunger, making it possible for food banks to acquire and distribute millions of pounds of nutritious food to feed needy children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, the working poor, and the underemployed and unemployed Pennsylvanians.

Unfortunately, state funding hasn’t kept pace with rising demand. Since the 2006-07 fiscal year, funding for the program has dropped 7.5 percent while the SFPP eligibility has increased 42.9 percent. We’re grateful for private donors and corporate partners, but their contributions can’t cover the growing state shortfall.

It is a difficult trend for food banks to manage. It’s even harder for those in need.

It used to be that holidays were our busiest times of year. Now, every day is a holiday, and that’s not a good thing.

Fighting hunger is a year-round battle, and food banks are a special refuge for those in need. But without SFPP, many of our most vulnerable residents simply wouldn’t be able to put food on the table  – not at Thanksgiving, not any day.

Sonny Consiglio

Executive director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food For Families, Johnstown

We must move forward as a nation

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democrat answer, but the answer. Let us not seek to fix blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future” (J.F.K.). This was never about Democrat or Republic, black or white, left or right, but what is best for our country.

Competence and morality is always the issue, which has been ignored. Have we struggled this far as a nation to throw away the accomplishments of the past? We cannot forget our past nor can we ignore the future or the present. If we are to move forward we must do it as a nation. We must hold all elected officials accountable to the people they serve.

Dates that live in infamy Sept. 2, 1941; Sept. 11, 2001; Nov. 4, 2008; and Nov. 6, 2012.

Ron Marol


Four more years of status quo

Four more years of lies, cover-ups, unemployment and people losing their homes.

Four more years of a do-nothing president (Iran shooting at one of our drones and nothing is done or known after the election), secret deals with the Russians and others, giving money to countries that hate us.

Four more years of gridlock because our politicians are acting like little kids not wanting the other party to do better,  of not protecting our embassys in hostile countries, of a president who does not know how to lead.

Four more years of executive orders because President Obama acts like a dictator instead of our president. We cannot go through four more years with this president. We should impeach him, and now.

God bless the U.S., we are going to need it.

Steve Maschak


What purpose did photograph serve?

Why would The Tribune-Democrat put a picture of the grieving family of 2-year-old Maddox Derkosh, at his funeral, on the front page (or any page) of the newspaper?

This family is enduring an unthinkable tragedy, which no photograph or words could begin to describe. The photograph is not news and cannot do anyone any good.

What may be helpful is for the people who read my letter to bow their heads and say a prayer – for Maddox’s mother, father, grandparents, relatives, neighbors and friends ... not just today, but in the many difficult days ahead.

Kathleen Verhovsek


Writer explains her vote for Obama

I voted for President Obama in spite of the abortion and gay marriage issues.

I am against abortion for any reason, including rape and incest. It is no less murder in the case of rape and incest.

Marriage is between a man and woman; we should not be rewriting the Bible.

In voting for the president, I chose the person I thought knows how to take care of foreign policy and the economy.

Abortion and gay issues should be put up for vote nationwide with no political party on either side. It is not a political issue but a moral one.

Big business is behind the financial problems in this country. Banks, real estate, Blue Cross, CEOs and yes, even those who head the Red Cross. I was shocked some years ago to see the amount Elizabeth Dole made while working for the Red Cross.

I also would like to see our governor return the SUVs he and his wife are driving, paid for by our taxes. He can afford to buy his own cars.

Roxanne Mansho



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