Wow. A 3 percent rate increase for SCE&G customers only averages $4.17 a month.

Since I live on a fixed income, that amount translates to a gallon of milk or loaf of bread and a dozen eggs, or, if I’m lucky, chicken this month.

Of course, I can always purchase packaged foods, which are full of sodium, artificial ingredients and everything else that my physician suggests I avoid.

Then, on to food stamps. That woman or man standing in front of you in line paying with a credit card for food is working a minimum wage job, trying his or her best to make ends meet. He or she is paying taxes.

A rate increase for SCE&G will be another hit. Well, all things considered, an increase in utilities also translates into higher food costs as well as increased health care and prescription drug costs. Wow.

Just consider this: What if it wasn’t $4.17 but $417. Could you absorb this cost?

Please stop judging. Of course, there are abuses in the system. But there are also remedies.

Please ask those in power – the decision makers – to be more diligent. I agree 16 years on food stamps is an abuse. But please don’t deny those who need a hand up because of those who use and abuse the system.

Obviously, the lack of integrity of the people in power that can affect change is abhorrent. Stop rubber-stamping. Look at each situation. There are those in desperate need.

Would you deny benefits to a wounded warrior whose spouse was unable to work outside of the home because in-home health care is prohibitively expensive? Wow. Come on folks, common sense and common kindness should prevail.

Please look at each situation on its own merits.

It could be you next, or your daughter, or son or a neighbor, friend or acquaintance. We are one race; the human race. No one gets out of this race unscathed.

If you put your hand out would someone be there to take it and give you sustenance and comfort should you falter? Can we be there? Can you be there? Don’t cast that first stone. It might come back to haunt you.

C. Elizabeth Learnard