- A serious breach of moral values

I write to express surprise and grief as I learn of the campaign launched this week by the Family Research Council and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who said that those who disagree with them on President Bush's judicial nominees are against people of faith.

It is a serious breach of moral values to suggest that one biblical interpretation ought to be forced on everyone or that people who disagree on public issues are anti-Christian.

As I prepare my sermon for this coming Passover Sunday, I now have a new example for what I have to say about the value of prophets. This country and its diverse people of faith need to be vigilant lest we be held hostage by the tyranny of one point of view.

Rev. Barbara Child, Valdosta

Unitarian Universalist Minister

- America's Second Harvest a wonderful organization

My wife and I attended an event on April 15th for an organization that deserves more recognition in this community.

America's Second Harvest of South Georgia, also referred to as the Valdosta Food Bank, presents an annual event titled "Empty Bowls." All proceeds from the event benefit the Kids Cafe program, which provides homework assistance and a hot meal to more than 750 children each night. Some children would have no meal at night if not for this program, and any child is eligible- no matter what the family's financial situation is.

Most people believe that the food bank is a place that allows anyone off the street to get free food, but that's not true. Non-profit organizations obtain food from America's Second Harvest for a "shared maintenance fee" to feed the elderly, children, and people with special needs. The fee covers transportation and storage-no other charges are involved.

After seeing the tastefully brief but engaging video footage at the event, I decided to get some information about America's Second Harvest. The network is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Our Valdosta Food Bank is the largest affiliate in South Georgia!

In 2004, the network fed more than 23 million people, including more than 9 million children and more than 3 million elderly people. Our local Kids Cafe program feeds children in seven counties at 14 sites.

Three members of the Valdosta staff traveled to New York after the terrorist attacks in 2001 to set up the emergency shelters and provide assistance so those shelters could continue to operate as long as needed. The scope of this one particular non-profit organization in our community is truly astonishing.

We were all entertained by Bobby and Jamie Deen of The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah. The show was great, but the support for the organization is what really matters. We need to come together as a community and learn more about America's Second Harvest of South Georgia and what we, as caring citizens, can do to help.

Most of the families that receive assistance have at least one working individual in the household, but the decision to pay for rent, utilities, and medicine far outweighs the decision to buy groceries most of the time.

America's Second Harvest of South Georgia is a wonderful organization with hard-working employees who truly care about ending hunger in our area, beginning with our children. They help ensure that no child goes to bed hungry at night. Mark your calendars for this annual spring event.

Jody Peterman, Valdosta

Attorney at Law

- Animal shelter is suppose to help animals

I recently submitted a rant to The Valdosta Daily Times, but felt so disgusted that I thought I should follow it up with a letter to the editor. On Saturday, April 16th at approximately 10 a.m., I called the Lowndes County Animal Shelter to see if they could take in four 1-week old kittens found at a local business. I was told by a female employee at the shelter that yes, they would take the kittens, but they would NOT feed them. She said that at this time of year that they are flooded with stray kittens and they would not feed them. I asked if they had a nursing mother cat at the shelter and she said no.

I eventually took them to the Animal Health Center on Bemiss Road, who were more than helpful and took the kittens in to care for them. What I found truly amazing about the entire incident was that when I called the Valdosta Humane Society, a voice mail informed me that, in the event of animal neglect or abuse, to call the Lowndes County Animal Shelter.

If the county and state are so concerned about the over abundance of stray kittens and puppies in the local area, they should follow the examples set by other county and state offices. For example, while stationed in Hawaii, I found out that the local government offered sterilization certificates which could be purchased at a significant costs savings to the pet owner. This helped decrease the number of unwanted new-born kittens and puppies in the local area.

In closing, I would like to add that if the Lowndes County Animal Shelter is the agency that you report neglected and abused animals to that they should not be neglecting the animals in their care.

Ray Edmondson

Greenville, Fla.

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