The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps over 40 million low-income Americans put food on the table. SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger for working families earning low wages, seniors, children, people with disabilities, veterans, and people who are between jobs or do not have steady employment, often for reasons outside of their control.

Harmful changes to SNAP have been proposed in the 2018 Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives — changes that would push large numbers of working families off SNAP and impose strict and ill-considered rules that would subject millions of people to harsh eligibility cutoffs, leading to greater hunger and poverty.

We would see worsened health and learning and reduced economic growth and productivity in communities across Ohio. People in rural areas and small towns would be hardest hit. As many as 16 percent of the rural population in our area uses SNAP benefits and up to 14.5 percent in Summit County.

As director of one of the area’s large food pantries, we see families struggle to make ends meet. Many are working two or more jobs and still can’t make their resources last through the month.

Instead of proposing to punish the poor and reduce access to nutritious food, Congress should focus on creating policies to end hunger and lift people out of poverty. Contact U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan today to urge them to vote against this bad bill.

Henri Etta Fletcher-Lockhart

Director, Akron Bible Church Baskets of Love

Renewal levy for Highland

So many of us in the community remain proud of the exceptional reputation of the Highland Local Schools. In an effort to maintain that tradition of excellence, the school district will be asking voters to renew a 7.9-mill operating levy on the May 8 ballot. This levy was first approved in 1998 for operating expenses and is critical for the day-to-day operation of our school district. Because this is a renewal levy, when passed there will be no new or additional taxes.

When renewed for another 10 years, the levy will cost homeowners approximately $155 a year per $100,000 of property valuation, as it does currently. The renewal generates approximately $4.15 million annually for the district and funds educational basics such as teachers, classroom materials, utilities and support services.

This renewal has nothing to do with the recent bond issue for the construction of new elementary schools. The funds from this renewal cannot be used for the building project. Those are separate funds, by law.

I ask for your support on this important renewal levy for the Highland schools.

Norman Christopher, M.D.

President, Highland Board of Education

What schools are up against

Regarding the April 18 letter ‘‘Norton district makes its sales pitch,’’ lamentably, the writer is confused as to who is devious and who is not when he scurrilously and inaccurately describes the Norton school administration and its employees as “devious.”

I’m sure in his confusion he really meant the “devious” administrations in Washington, Columbus and other state capitals that cut taxes and thus funds for education.

It’s not rocket science. Better schools. Better students. Better communities.

John Paparella Sr.

Norton