Dear editor,

The first time I met Tricia Zunker was at a N.A.O.M.I. meeting at the First English Lutheran Church in Wausau.

N.A.O.M.I., The North Central Area Organized to Make an Impact, is a social justice/citizen action group with several platforms of concern — child hunger and poverty is one of them. N.A.O.M.I. partners with several other organizations across the state. One of the partners is Kids Forward. Kids Forward advocates for investments in a child’s earliest years, healthier kids and families, equitable communities, strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce and a level playing field on taxes.

Tricia spoke about the needs of children who face food scarcity on a daily basis. Food scarcity for children is an issue that needs to be addressed by our schools and communities, and at the state and national level, as well.

Tricia spoke bluntly about how food scarcity affects a child’s development and well-being.

Here is some additional information: “About 15 million children in the United States — 21 percent of all children — live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families.” “Most of these children have parents who work.” “Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being.”

Tricia had a plan and a vision: establish a food pantry in every public school in Wausau. She ran for the Wausau School Board and won. Tricia now serves as the board president as she continues to advocate for the health and well-being of  children — our national treasure.

Several of the Wausau schools now have an established food pantry with more in the works. The D.C. Everest Senior High School also has a food pantry staffed by the students with assistance by a few teachers.

In December of 2019, the Trump administration announced major changes to the SNAP, aka food stamps. The effects of those cuts won’t be known until the summer of 2020. “DHS state Medicaid director, Jim Jones, told WPR the proposed rule could affect 25,000 Wisconsinites receiving SNAP benefits.” “He said the changes could also cause some families receiving free and reduced lunch benefits for children could lose their benefits as well.”

Tricia Zunker cares about our children and their hard-working families. She has decided the best way to be an advocate for children and their families is to run for Congress from the 7th Congressional District.

The special election will be held May 12. Make sure you are registered. Information is available at www.vote.org. For your convenience, a citizen can apply for an absentee ballot at https://elections.wi.gov/voters/absentee.

Now more than ever with so many people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, people in the 7th Congressional District need a congresswoman who is an advocate for our children and their families. She would be the first woman to represent us!

Joyce Luedke of Rothschild

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly accepts letters to the editor from residents, officials, and candidates for local offices. The views of our readers are not necessarily the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, send to editor@wausaupilotandreview.com.