To the Editor:

As the temperature increases, we put away our sweaters for another year and prepare for summer months full of outdoor adventures in the sun. Our summer activities could include a trip to the local beach or lake, a hike in the mountains, barbecues, ice cream on a hot day or afternoons by the pool. But, while we enjoy the summer months, hunger does not go on vacation. Nearly 38 million Americans, including 14 million children will face hunger.

This summer, visiting farmers markets can mean proper nutrition and a better life for many low-income families.

Farmers markets throughout the country offer local farms, ranches, dairies and nurseries the opportunity to sell their products at weekly markets. While promoting healthy eating and proper nutrition, the farmers markets are a great resource for low-income families.

At various markets there is a partnership between the private and public sectors, allowing the Women, Infants and Children program to make the market accessible. WIC is a federal program that provides nutrition education, food and health care to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children. WIC has been proven to be effective in minimizing low-birth weight and reducing fetal morality.

In addition to the weekly farmers markets, many nonprofits that organize the markets also provide programs on how to eat healthy meals by cooking nutritious foods and shopping wisely.

Federal nutrition programs and farmers markets provide a means for hungry Americans to have an opportunity to live an independent lifestyle. And of course, in the end it is all Band-Aid practices, until we build the political will in this country to end hunger. So, while we enjoy the summer days, let's also support local programs that provide for low-income families, so that they too can have a happy and healthy summer.

Dr. H. Eric Schockman, president

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

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