To the Journal editor:
"Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." Who has ever thought about this refrain from a well-known hymn, and not known deep within their heart that Jesus Christ was asking those of us more fortunate to take care of those who need help? It just could not be made more clear; when we help those who are in need help we are living up to our Christian heritage and doing good works.
The Food Stamp program does just that. It was not originally designed, however, to benefit the poor. A history of the Food Stamp program written by social economist Dennis Roth at the request of the USDA informs us that until 1932, providing food to the needy left to local communities and churches. That changed in 1932, when a surplus of wheat grown during the depression was unable to be brought to the marketplace. Why? It was the Great Depression. Farmers were stymied as to what to do with their surplus crops. The Federal Government wisely elected to purchase and then release excess wheat first to feed livestock affected by the drought. A few months later Congress authorized the Red Cross to distribute some Government wheat to the unemployed.
Since 1932, the Food Stamp program has been closely linked to the USDA and our nation's farmers. It not only helps families in need, it also bolsters our country's farmers when production exceeds demand. Sounds like a win/win!
The 8/25 Mining Journal published a letter written by Bill Todd Jr. in which he compares the poor to animals. His perspective is that the poor, like animals living within our National Parks, should not be fed because, "the animals will grow dependent upon handouts, and will not learn to take care of themselves."
I do not believe that people who have fallen upon hard times due to our cataclysmic fall into near-depression during the previous administration and slowly growing current economy should be likened to park animals. I believe they are our brothers. We are all in this together. I could not be happier if the farmers' surplus crops are distributed to those in need. I believe this is the perspective that would be most consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.