You “buy local,” but do you “give local?”

We are all familiar with the idea of buying local, but have you taken a moment to consider the impact of giving local? The “buy local” movement has great benefits — fresher food, better quality and locally sourced products, a much more significant impact to the local economy, more local jobs, and reduced costs of transportation. Giving locally — supporting hometown organizations that are solving serious problems and helping people right here in our own backyard — makes a profound difference too.

Across the Lowcountry there are dozens of great organizations in our own backyard, making the most of each dollar and efficiently and effectively meeting needs in our community — neighbors helping neighbors.

As you are prioritizing your philanthropic plans for the remainder of 2019, we hope you will consider supporting those organizations based right here in our community. By doing so, you will be making a huge impact in the lives of our neighbors, each and every day.

George Roberts

President and CEO, East Cooper Meals on Wheels

Religious freedoms

I have never written to a newspaper before, but I feel that I cannot let this issue go. I am writing about Mr. Stallings’ article in the Dec. 18 issue titled: “Students do no lose their religious freedoms when they walk into a public school.”

I agree with what the parent wrote to Mr. Stallings concerning the start of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club. First off, there is a plethora of athletic organizations in the schools — both competitive and recreational — is there really a need for yet another school supported athletic club that is specifically designed for Christian students? More importantly, as a tax-paying member of this community, but of a different faith than Mr. Stallings, I feel that it is wrong for him to address this parent by saying, “I can assure you that you have nothing to fear from a Christian club.” Students of all faiths and beliefs should feel welcome when they attend school. Mr. Stallings’ article totally disregarded the parent’s concerns with an answer that is exactly what the parent is concerned about. Should schools start Muslim, Jewish, Buddist athletic clubs? Maybe we should do the same with drama clubs, music clubs and the like. Faith-based clubs belong outside of the school yard. In this day and age when there is so much rhetoric about us versus them, adding yet another club which separates some from the whole only adds to this divisiveness. Can’t there just be supportive groups of friends without having to call it out as related to a specific faith?

It’s hard enough growing up — let’s not add another division for our students.

Sandi Jacobs

Mount Pleasant

SNAP benefits

Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a final rule that will cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for 680,000 people.

SNAP helps thousands of South Carolinians put food on the table. While everyone experiencing a rough patch should be able to use SNAP, the program already places strict time limits on non-disabled participants, ages 18 to 50, who are not caring for children. The current program also restricts access to nutritious food to only three months every three years, unless the individual is working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a workforce program or training.

Reducing SNAP benefits from the plates of people facing hunger each year will not help people find and maintain steady, full-time jobs. Feeding them will.

Many of our neighbors facing these time limits must overcome barriers that make finding and keeping adequate work difficult, including the lack of transportation and irregular work schedules.

Every day, the Lowcountry Food Bank and our partner food pantries accomplish the huge task of helping children, seniors, working families and veterans make ends meet by providing food. This cut to SNAP benefits will create a larger gap in food access for our neighbors who need it most.

While the Lowcountry Food Bank remains steadfast in our commitment to feed those in our community who are food insecure, we need the help of federal nutrition programs and hope the USDA will join us in the fight against hunger and rescind its harmful rule.

Pat Walker

President and CEO, The Lowcountry Food Bank