Monday, November 23, 2009

A letter to the editor

Anne Wachtel, our social work intern at Just Harvest, submitted this letter to the editor which appeared on Friday, November 20th, 2009 in the editorial section of the Post-Gazette.

A mayor for them

Under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh has gained much media attention as "America's most livable city." He also claims to have made great strides in Pittsburgh's economic growth. If we listened only to him, Pittsburgh might seem to be a paradise. But this is not the case. Regardless of these so-called strides, we have thousands of residents in dire poverty. Even basic human necessities such as food are not a sure thing in "America's most livable city."

As a social work intern at Just Harvest, a South Side-based nonprofit that helps people apply for food stamps, I have seen this firsthand. Our applications for food stamps have more than doubled in the past year. According to the Department of Public Welfare, in September, Allegheny County food stamp participation went up for the 26th consecutive month. In Allegheny County alone, more than 134,000 people rely on food stamps to fill their pantries and refrigerators.

I challenge you, Mr. Ravenstahl, to serve your first full term as mayor for these people. Serve for the residents who cannot afford to pay for food and housing in the country's "most livable city." Serve for the elderly, the single mothers, the working families who must decide between food and rent. Serve for the homeless who can afford neither. You have claimed your dedication to Pittsburgh. Now, prove your dedication to Pittsburgh's most important resource: its residents.

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