Your recent editorial, “Far too many Mainers still hungry, poor,” (April 14), reminded us all too well of the hardships many fellow Mainers face more than five years since the Great Recession began.

It also reminded us that charity alone is not enough, no matter how generous our neighbors, or how determined food banks and others are to try to meet the need.

Despite modest improvements in the economy, too many are still struggling. Nearly one in five kids in Maine lives in poverty, a number that should be unacceptable.

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is one of the most effective tools against hunger and poverty in the nation. It has been critical in responding to food insecurity and improving health outcomes, especially during the recession. This powerful program helps feed 22 million children daily. If counted as income, SNAP could be credited with lifting 17,000 Maine families above the poverty line in 2010.

We are the richest nation on earth, and there is no reason children in Maine or anywhere in America should go hungry. We know from research that kids who don’t have enough to eat do less well in school, have more health problems, and are less productive as adults.

Preventing hunger is not a partisan issue. As Congress continues to debate budgets and deficits, protecting this vital program from cuts needs to be a top priority. We hope our entire congressional delegation stands with U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, in solid support of the SNAP program and other critical supports that help tip the balance in favor of our neighbors who are barely hanging on.

Ned McCann, executive director

Maine Children’s Alliance, Augusta

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