Making ends meet requires a change of lifestyle

Regarding Lisa Suhay's Oct. 25 Opinion piece "Being one of 'them' – the working poor": My husband and I also fall into the category of couples with college educations and children, and we are always one unexpected bill away from financial ruin. I read Ms. Suhay's article with mutual commiseration until I saw their house price and combined income.

If Suhay and her husband would lower their lifestyle expectations as my husband and I had to do, perhaps they wouldn't be in need of as much charity assistance.

I don't want to appear callous; I understand exactly what it means to have every penny of the paycheck spent every month with nothing left save for emergencies. However, if someone's budget is consistently not met by his or her income month after month, then it is time to find any area possible in which the budget can be cut.

Selling and moving into a smaller home, possibly in a different neighborhood, is a wrenching and painful decision. But it's better than taking resources from a charity to support a preferred standard of living. I would be glad to have my charity contributions help families like Suhay's (and mine) when they have emergencies. However, I expect that first they do everything possible to live within their means.
C. Phipps
Utica, N. Y.

In response to "Being one of 'them' – the working poor": As one of the "helper ladies" Lisa Suhay refers to, I can only say that she is, unfortunately, right on.

I am the sole paid employee of a private charitable organization. I wish it were only food, clothing, and incidentals that are so urgently needed. It is money, and we simply don't have it right now.

Ms. Suhay mentions becoming a volunteer for the poor. I have several of these ladies, all in about her income position. I could not function without them.
Shari Wilcox
Potsdam, N.Y.

The term "working poor" is so very far from being new. But it is just now that Lisa Suhay and others are moving into our "neighborhood." More and more people of her income range will be moving in, and where will we put them?
Anita Hulsey
Gainesville, Ga.

Advocates shouldn't mask identities

In response to David Martosko's letter from the Center for Consumer Freedom (Readers Write, Oct. 23): A review of more than 300 nutritional comparisons, which appeared in Alternative Therapies in 1998, found organic produce had higher nutrient content than conventional produce 40 percent of the time, and lower nutrient content 15 percent of the time.

As for pesticides, organic produce contains residue only a third as often as conventional produce, and would probably contain even less if conventional growers could keep chemicals from drifting into organic fields.

The Center for Consumer Freedom draws funding from fast-food enterprises that benefit when Americans remain ignorant about their eating habits.
Matthew Orr
Berkeley, Calif.

Tuning in to rockin' women

Regarding "Rock on, sister" (Oct. 25, Arts & Leisure): It's about time. Why shouldn't more women be heard on the airwaves? The article says women musicians need to stand up and fight like men. But I feel women need to stand up and fight as women. Let's recognize women musicians for their own strengths and talents.
Javan Ruark
Rexburg, Ind.

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