Re: Food programs

Thank you for your recent article highlighting hunger and the new documentary A Place at the Table [“Hunger games,” March 13]. Hunger in this country is indeed a serious problem, and a great deal of work needs to be done to address it. Given recent legislation at both the federal and state levels, I’m not encouraged that we’re heading in the right direction. However, while community groups and nonprofits play an important role helping those in need, these organizations cannot be relied upon to heal what ails us. The problem is simply too big.

I work for a food relief group, and while I absolutely see the value of our work, I also recognize that our government has a fundamental role to play in improving people’s outcomes. We must pressure our political leaders to improve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or Food and Nutrition Services in North Carolina). It is an important resource for many households.

Admittedly, there is room for improvement. Benefit levels need to be increased. The Institute of Medicine released a report earlier this year indicating that current benefit levels do not feasibly allow low-income households to purchase and prepare a healthy diet. Additionally, more funding is needed for county Department of Social Services offices to hire workers to process food stamp applications.

Multiple efforts both private and public are needed to address the food hardship experienced by more than 2 million North Carolinians. There is a place for community gardens, food pantries and, yes, food stamps.

April Morgan, Raleigh

Re: Labor unions

Thank you for Bob Geary’s “It’s time to induce labor” [March 13]. One of the least discussed issues in last fall’s election campaign was the decline of unions in this country, even when Obama and other Democrats were talking about wealth inequality. Sadly, we need strong unions because we live not by the golden rule that states, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” but by the one that says, “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Christopher Ross, South Boston, Va.