Letters to the Editor: Long Island Press Readers React

formula shortage

In response to Baby Formula Shortage Sparks Donation Drives, Calls to Action on Long Island:

To the Editor,

On May 13, your newspaper published an article titled “Baby Formula Shortage Sparks Donation Drives, Calls to Action on Long Island,” which highlighted the recent baby formula shortage that is not only affecting Long Island, but the entire nation as well. In normal circumstances, as was pointed out in the article, there is always a great need for formula, but with the added strain of the pandemic it seems to have increased.

It’s also ironic that this shortage seems to be occurring right as the Supreme Court seems poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a highly important decision that gives women the right to choose to have an abortion or not. With this potential overturn of such a paramount document, we may see an increase in births, which if this formula shortage is not solved will result in an even greater or longer lasting issue. It’s imperative, then, to either protect a woman’s right to choose, which could in turn prevent this scarcity of formula from getting worse (and the loss of infants to malnutrition) or pass laws protecting a mothers’ right to breastfeed in public without fear of being harassed. If the latter is chosen, then perhaps increasing areas where women can breastfeed or pump comfortably might also help alleviate the situation.

Lastly, as mentioned within the article, we must prevent any price gouging of formula from happening, which can greatly affect poor families and prevent them from being able to properly care for and provide for their baby. In times of crisis, despite the capitalist model of “supply and demand” and the typical raising of prices when things are in high demand, we should lower them to make it easier for families who desperately need the resource, such as baby formula, rather than raise it and create an issue for families trying to care for their children. It’s unfair, cruel, and unjust to punish those who can’t afford the things they need because a company chose to raise the price due to demand. 

In short, women should absolutely fight to ensure formula remains affordable to all mothers no matter what their socio-economic status is, should lobby and write to their policymakers demanding that breastfeeding be a protected right so mothers can care for their infants in times like these, and fight to protect a woman’s right to choose and her bodily autonomy.

-Kirsten Fetter, Syracuse University Graduate Student

In response to Eastern European Long Islanders Provide Direct Assistance to Ukrainian Refugees:

To the Editor,

While the work that Neina Vetrano and her husband Pastor Justin Vetrano are doing is amazing and nothing short of inspiring, it is also unfortunately necessary at a time like this. While the war in Ukraine deserves as much attention and support as possible, I would like to point out that similar problems are happening all over the world due to a variety of reasons, including extreme poverty. According to recent reports, around 68 million refugees (about twice the population of California) are displaced around the world with 30 people being displaced every minute. While not all of us are able to make such a direct impact as the Vetranos can, we can still do our parts here from home. 

After becoming an intern with The Borgen Project, I have made it my focus to make my peers aware of the differences they can make towards issues like these. By raising awareness and supporting things like the International Affairs Budget, we can help make a difference. The United States has the resources to make major changes. Yet our budget for foreign assistance and international aid only makes up about 1% of the federal budget. Supporting increases to things like the International Affairs Budget can be a huge turning point in raising that 1% to a percentage we can all be proud of. By doing our parts now we can make a difference for the people in Ukraine as well as millions of other people.

-Jack Casolani, Yaphank resident

You are Not Alone
Has a family member or friend died by suicide? Are you looking for someone to speak with wo has also suffered a loss? Are you seeking emotional support, resources or a way to get involved with an organization whose mission is to Save Lives and Bring Hope to Those Affected by Suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Long Island Chapter offers free support through its Healing Conversations program. It gives those who have lost someone to suicide the opportunity to talk with our experienced volunteers. These AFSP volunteers, who are themselves survivors of suicide loss, offer understanding and guidance in the weeks and months following a suicide death.
Support is available in person, on the phone or by video chat. Our volunteers are familiar with the isolation that so often accompanies a death of this kind and are able to show suicide loss survivors a way forward into a world of support, by creating an opportunity for the newly bereaved to speak openly with, and ask questions of, someone who has been there, too, and truly gets it.
When someone contacts AFSP-LI to request a conversation, they will ask them some questions about your loss, so that they may match them with a suitable volunteer who has experienced a similar loss. Their peer support volunteer will contact you to schedule a conversation at a convenient time and, in the case of in-person visits, at a comfortable location of the person’s choice.
The American Suicide Foundation is a National not-for-profit organization. Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.  AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies: Funding scientific research, educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide.
The AFSP-Long Island Chapter also has many volunteer opportunities available.
If you have questions or would like to connect with us directly, please contact [email protected]fsp.org.
-Mindy Davidson