You recently ran a Back Page story titled "He ate 69 hot dogs." While I know it is popular for summer festivals to hold eating contests, I find it gluttonous and unconscionable.
Consider this: At one per person, 69 hot dogs will feed 69 needy people one meal. 69 people! And that counts only the hot dogs that were consumed by the winner of the above-mentioned contest, not to mention all the rest who participated.
I understand the sporting nature of eating contests. I realize it is intended to be "all in fun." But then I think about the needy/hungry man who may be sitting in the park, watching the eating contest, feeling the deep rumble in his belly as he watches someone who is likely not needy, eat 69 hot dogs.
I challenge those who participate in eating contests to spend one day at a shelter, serving meals to those who are truly hungry. I can guarantee you, you will be filled in a way that 69 hot dogs could never fill you.
Further, I challenge all municipalities to forgo eating contests at their festivals, and instead, encourage giving to the needy, by requiring a nonperishable item to be donated in addition to the festival admission.