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Make sure everyone has access to decent food

The finding that a mother’s consumption of alcohol during lactation stunts her child’s cognitive development is hardly surprising (“Alcohol in breast milk could affect cognitive development in kids, study finds,” July 30). Introducing alcohol into a lactating mother’s system can spoil the composition of her breast milk — and ultimately the nutrients being acquired by the child. For many Americans across the country, however, the issue is not merely contaminated breast milk but rather inadequate access to proper nutrition and a healthy diet.

Millions of American parents depend on SNAP (formerly food stamps) to stock their shelves and feed their children, but this program is currently under attack. The U.S. Congress is in the process of negotiating a final farm bill that determines the future of SNAP, and the House version is designed to make eligibility requirements stricter for older and childcaring Americans. One in nine Maryland residents need SNAP to afford healthier food options, and the Census Bureau reports that SNAP brought 3.6 million Americans out of poverty in 2016. Curtailing the program’s benefits only worsens American families’ prospects of healthy, prosperous lives.

Thank you to Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen as well as Reps. Anthony Brown, Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, Steny Hoyer, Jamie Raskin, Dutch Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes for voting to protect SNAP. I urge Rep. Andy Harris to join the other Maryland congressmen in supporting a final, bipartisan bill that ensures that poor Marylanders don’t go hungry and fall further into poverty. Maryland may be one of the richest states in the country, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for our residents experiencing poverty.

Jericho Asis, Baltimore

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