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A recent study by the New York State Department of Health found that more than half of the food pantries and dining rooms across the state were forced to reduce the size of their clients' food packages or meals in order to meet the requests of services.

Add to that a study conducted by the Statewide Emergency Network for Social and Economic Security, confirming that in Buffalo, 53.8 percent of respondent programs reported "stretching" food in June 1997 due to a lack of food.

Furthermore, 20 percent of Buffalo's emergency food providers reported turning people away last year because they ran out of food.

Because there are fewer resources to feed more people, it is in the best interest of all of us -- private charities, business and government -- to ask how we can respond to the most vulnerable living among us.

Who is going to take care of the poor? Who will feed them? How does policy impact the poor and hungry? How does policy impact the efforts of the dedicated volunteers at food pantries and dining rooms?

Hunger Has a Cure legislation, if passed by Congress, would most assuredly be one aspect of the solution to the problem of hunger.

In addition to restoring food stamps to legal immigrants and the working poor, it seeks to provide funding for the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Funding for these nutrition programs could mean the difference between hunger and health for millions of children and families.

Last December, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato signed a bipartisan letter to President Clinton urging him to restore in his 1999 budget proposal food-stamp benefits for legal immigrants who are children, elderly or disabled.

D'Amato needs to continue his concern for this vulnerable population by sponsoring Hunger Has a Cure so it can be introduced in the Senate.

Patricia J. Griffin Food For All

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