Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Opinion

We can’t let children go hungry over the summer | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor.

Don’t let kids go hungry

Child nutrition waivers

The coronavirus has caused both a catastrophic health crisis and an economic one, pushing thousands of families into poverty and hunger here in Florida. Even in this crisis, we’ve been able to make sure children are fed. Nationwide, child nutrition waivers issued by the USDA gave school districts and community groups the ability to reach kids by packaging meals for curbside pick-up and delivery. Kids were fed.

Now these nationwide waivers are set to expire June 30, at the height of summer hunger. Without the flexibilities these waivers provide, schools and community organizations will not be able to reach kids with the food they need. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recognizes how critical these waivers are for feeding kids this summer, and has proactively applied for statewide child nutrition waiver extensions for Florida. But approval of individual state waivers is not guaranteed, and a nationwide waiver is likely to be more expedient, while also solving the problem for all states — ensuring kids can get the meals they need this summer regardless of where they live.

I ask our U.S. senators — Rick Scott and Marco Rubio — to help feed kids this summer by urging USDA to extend all nationwide child nutrition waivers through Sept. 30. The road to economic recovery begins with families in Florida having the food they need for kids to thrive.

Sky Beard,West Melbourne

The writer is the Florida director of No Kid Hungry.

Too soon for Grand Prix

Grand Prix set to return in October | May 14

Grand Prix staff works to remove the show car from the entrance of the Mahaffey Theater after the news that the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

Really? St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announces an October Grand Prix in downtown St. Petersburg. Who knows whether travel will be allowed then? What about social distancing for the drivers, crews, media and sponsors? What happens if we are suddenly under a hurricane watch or warning when drivers and crews are due to arrive? Do we really need to add a large international event to our local uncertainty while we are still reeling from a pandemic that is predicted to have a second or third wave?

Downtown businesses were closed for weeks and have suffered financially due to COVID-19. Now he wants to bring in a large event that will result in even fewer locals frequenting those businesses due to a race. He is adding to their financial woes.

While it is nice to think of things returning to “normal,” “normal” right now is just an idea. We have no idea what normal will look like in five months. It is unlikely to be what it was days prior to the canceled March race. It is too soon to plan for the level of disruption that comes with a Grand Prix.

Next year will be soon enough to tear the city apart again to accommodate a three-day race. Wait until then.

Will Rudowsky, St. Petersburg

It’s not about religion

Scientology pamphlets distributed in Pinellas lunches | May 14

The Church of Scientology's cross tops the Super Power building in downtown Clearwater. [Times (2011)]

I am not involved in Scientology, but why does it matter if they place a pamphlet in the school lunch? It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it is no different then any other religion placing a pamphlet. They help out just as much as other religions. People need to work together and forget religion, race, disabilities and income.

Tracy Mclynden, St. Petersburg