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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: hunger in Central PA; Red Cross on Sandy

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 7, 2012 3:12 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, November 8:

food donations 300x170.jpg

Mention the word hunger and many Americans start picturing children in developing countries -- not here in the United States.  What they may not know is that up to one-fourth of all American children are food insecure meaning they don't have "access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life."  That definition comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Children are especially vulnerable.  In Pennsylvania, it's estimated that more than 588,000 kids under the age of 18 are food insecure.  In Central Pennsylvania, 21% of children sometimes go hungry.  

Adults are also affected.  The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank says 44% of those they serve said they have had to choose between food and paying for utilities or heat.

Thursday's Radio Smart Talk features a discussion of hunger in Central Pennsylvania and what you can do to help. 

Also, a week after Hurricane Sandy ravished areas of New Jersey and New York and while another strong storm is targeting many of the same places, we'll hear from Kathy Smyser of the American Red Cross about ongoing relief efforts.

Listen to the program:


Joe Arthur, Executive Director, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank


Maria Schaszberger, Communications Director, Water Street Ministries

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-08 09:22

    Email From Loralee in Mechanicsburg;

    I completely appreciate the free meals offered from water street and the local churches in Lancaster. As a young adult I struggled with addiction and homelessness and I benefited from these serves.

    I appreciate the story your guest shared about the young mother. So it's not that I don't support feeding the hungry, but there are SO MANY people in Lancaster who use those three squares a day to do nothing with their lives, cash their SSI checks binge for a night then go back to sleeping at the mission. My mother used to work at central marker and she knew the same people walking around with nothing, that I encountered only a few years ago... Are we possibly helping people to stay homeless?

    • Maria Schaszberger img 2012-11-08 19:58

      Loralee, you’re asking the right question (are we helping people to stay homeless?), and it’s one that we ask ourselves all the time at Water Street. We can’t really know whether someone is interested in moving forward or staying stuck until we get to know them. So we try to offer food when it’s needed but also work hard to get to know the person better in order to find out the real need. As we get to know them, we can see whether they are being helped or enabled. It’s a big question, though, and we’d love to talk more with you about it. If you’d like to schedule a tour to learn more, you’re welcome to call me, Maria Schaszberger, at 358-2027.

  • SallyAnn M Smith img 2012-11-08 09:27

    Our church here in Lock Haven participates in a program where food is sent home to children through the two inner city schools on weekends. Food is packed on Wednesday nights by volunteers from the church and distributed to the schools on Thursday mornings. We are new to the area and I don't know all the details but sponsoring a child for a year is $160 but you can opt to give more or less as your budget allows. My husband assists with the packing. This church packs for more than fifty children who are approved for the program. Food used to be sent home in backpacks but many of those didn't come back and it was hard to keep them clean so it is now sent home in grocery bags.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-11-08 09:45

    Email From Kathy in Dover:

    I want to reinforce the statement that no one gets rich off of food stamps.

    Currently we receive 199 a month, allotted for 2 adults and one child. That amounts to 67.00 dollars per person. I am the only one working in the household. I cannot discount how much even that is a tremendous help, allowing us to put cash towards other expenses.

    Also wanted to mention that the WIC program is available and a wonderful program that assists pregnant and lactating women and children up to five years old.