Recently a Letter to the Editor in the Optic by Mr. Ray Herrera disparaged people who utilize Federal and State poverty programs, including those that address food insecurity, such as the food stamp program now called SNAP. His view is that “Government dependency is a horrible thing that leads to generations of pride-less, lazy, unmotivated parasites being supported by the hardworking folks who have earned every penny of their retirement incomes and Social Security.”
Rather than “government dependency,” some facts of more serious concern are: New Mexico ranks second in the U.S. in the child poverty rate (children under age 18; 149,404 children), with 20.8 percent of our state population living in poverty. Poverty creates food insecurity, and 101,912 households in New Mexico are food insecure. Contrary to popular myth, poverty (welfare) programs actually address desperate needs of children, elderly, disabled people, and hard-working low-income individuals.