From Our Readers

Conspiracies and Actual Conspiracies

In Charlotte Burns’ letter “Skeptical of Case Against Tsarnaev” [February 27, 2014] she writes, “Having lived through the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War and 9/11, I am totally cynical… of our government and media,” and she goes on to ask dark questions dripping with origami-like conspiracies about the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath.

But it is less cynicism her letter conveys than delusion. For decades now the actual conspiracies of government—the Gulf of Tonkin, Cointelpro, CIA assassinations, Watergate burglaries, Iran/Contra, phony intel on Iraq, renditions, black sites, and the NSA’s eavesdropping gluttony—have all been revealed, often by regular Joes and Janes in the media or relatively low-level whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

So the notion that there are even more conspiracies, deeply hidden, which cannot be revealed does border, if not on psychological delusion, then at least on an intellectual weariness ever more contagious in this age of “Internet truthiness.”

Good citizenship today relies on relentless critical thinking, not conspiracy theories.


Feeding Friends, Saving Neighbors

J. is one of my favorite patrons at Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry in Chicopee. As a full-time mother of two, it pained her to see her husband’s work hours get cut to part-time. Even after picking up an additional part-time job, they still found themselves forced to choose between paying bills and buying food. Fortunately for J., she was able to find us and get the food she needed from our pantry.

 A reduction in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits has sent a tremendous number of families like J.’s to Lorraine’s. With recent budget cuts and a diminished USDA surplus, we have a great need to provide for the countless families that depend on us. Because of our supporters, we have been able to ensure that J. and the rest of our patrons will never have to explain to their children why there is no food on the table.

Last year, Lorraine’s saw almost 9,000 Chicopee families and distributed more than 404,000 pounds of food. Those numbers are only going to increase. Families are losing up to $40 a month in assistance, and this is placing a tremendous strain on our services. We need monetary donations now more than ever.

People often ask me why only donating food isn’t enough. At Lorraine’s, I am able to leverage dollars to purchase food from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. So when you donate money, your dollars go that much further than a can of food because we can buy food to distribute at $.19 a pound, which beats any grocery.

So far, we have been able to raise $26,590. In fact, we only need $8,410 to reach our goal. That’s just 43 $200 donations.

I want to extend my sincerest appreciation to everyone who has made a gift to Lorraine’s. Your support goes a long way toward helping Chicopee friends and neighbors. If you would like to get involved, I urge you to visit our website,, to make a secure online donation to help us reach our goal, apply to be a volunteer, or read up on news and events that impact the Chicopee community.


Vegetarians Vs. Meateaters

Here’s another reason to eat veggie burgers rather than hamburgers. A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine confirms that vegetarians have significantly lower blood pressure than their meat-eating counterparts. This means that vegetarians are also less likely to suffer from heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, dementia and other serious health problems.

Author: Advocate readers

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