Peder Zane’s Sept. 24 column “ Where dollars fit into doing our duty” raises legitimate questions about how America chooses to respond to poverty and hunger in our country. However, he overreaches in trying to argue that poverty and hunger are not substantial.
Just because hunger in America does not look like a sub-Saharan stereotype does not make the issue any less important. Malnutrition is a serious and consequential problem, too. Sadder still, citing the USDA report that poor children intake more calories than wealthy ones, he wrongly implies that they are somehow better off.
The fact is that higher caloric intake is likely indicative of eating poorer quality foods that are cheaper than healthy fresh food but higher in calories and probably fat and sugar, too. Eating such cheaper foods is associated with diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
That means that our poor residents are more likely to have health problems that society pays for. It also means children not learning in school and workers being less productive on the job.
As we look at what costs society must or should bear to address the impacts of poverty, we should consider these related costs as well.
Alan Briggs, Executive director, N.C. Association of Food Banks, Raleigh