Letters: March 22

The benefits of being homeless

As an alumnus and an occasional Telegraph Avenue and park bum, I would like to commend Jay Scherf for his kind and sensible words (“Homelessness and Telegraph Avenue,” March 15) with regard to the ‘Ave, in response to a column from Ms. Yu, which I missed.  It does my heart good to know that some young folks still know how to think for themselves.

You know, being a bum offers a certain freedom. It is good to know that there is some place for you if you just want to bum around for a while. There’s food, served in the Park, companionship if you want it. Some among that crowd of disheveled people are ex-professors.  It’s a low-stress environment.

It’s like real third-world-style life going on here in the midst of America. It is there for us to see because it is the truth. There are no jobs for these men. I remember the Woody Guthrie song that goes, “I’m lookin’ for a job with honest pay.”  How have we, as a nation, let these young people down?  Sent them to a fool’s war and returned them to a wasteland of commercialism; all honest work sent overseas.  That’s right, honest work.  Where’s that entry-level honest work? Everybody is protecting his money, and the government is in the control of the Republicans. So let’s get tough on the poor. Right.

— Curtis Manning,
UC Berkeley alumnus

Efforts to eradicate hunger in America

I was excited when reading “Interface aims to link restaurants to shelters in need of food” (March 18) because hunger is indeed a serious issue in America. Komal Ahmad’s program will not only benefit the hungry but will also reduce food waste that often harms our beloved Earth. I agree that the Earth produces enough food for its 7 billion people. The problem is inequity in food distribution and big greedy food corporations that manipulate food prices, making low-income families unable to buy food. I hope and pray that Feeding Forward is successful in its honorable mission to end hunger.

— Khalida Jamilah,
UC Berkeley student

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