The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Letters

November 30, 2013

A Valley that cares

— It was so painful to read that SNAP payments were going to be curtailed. A friend did some research:

In our five counties (Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union) nearly 30,000 people receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits. More than 40 percent of the school-aged children in the Valley qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. In some of our schools it’s as high as 70 percent. Many other families are on the verge of poverty, yet still ineligible for these federal programs. The tight federal budget, cuts in heating assistance programs, threatened cuts in SNAP benefits, and the lagging economic recovery are creating a “perfect storm” for the Valley’s food banks and other nutrition aid programs. Many are overwhelmed, serving far more people than they have ever served before. Some are in danger of closing.

We know many religious congregations are already supporting their local food banks and providing food for the hungry in other ways. If not, we ask that you consider donating generously to your local food bank/pantry. Most need not only food and money, but also time. Each religious tradition has a mandate to feed and care for the hungry. This is the second year the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley has worked with the Northumberland Food Bank, and we are stronger for it. We invite you to join us and help supply their needs.

If you are not affiliated with a community and want to help, the UUCSV can help. Last year we started Love Flows as a way to support Sandy victims on Staten Island. This year we have started The LOVE Project (Let Our Valley Eat) as a way to make a difference. At the moment, we have a 50 percent matching fund to leverage the first $10,000 we raise (There is no overhead, all monies go for services.) We’re currently donating to the Northumberland food bank and to Caring For Kids, a program at the Shikellamy grade schools that supplies backpacks full of food so kids don’t go hungry on the weekends ($1.25 a weekend per kid, $45 for the school year. We’ll run an informational program on setting up such programs for teachers and PSA associations.) Please go to loveflows.net to donate.

Let us be the Valley that cares and makes life different. There are many different religious groups in this Valley and different holidays being celebrated. Our own celebrations will be far richer if we know that everyone will be eating as well. Please, let’s do what’s necessary to let our valley eat.

Ann Keeler Evans,

Minister, UUCSV

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