“How dare you feed this kind of food to these people? If they’re hungry enough they’ll eat anything.”
“That woman has a car and her son has a job. She shouldn’t get pantry food.”
“How dare you serve this much food to those kinds of people?”
The “are they hungry” issue looms large in food pantry conflicts. The fears are many and boil down to this:
1. Financially comfortable people will shop at a pantry when they actually have the money to go to a supermarket.
2. Riffraff are going to take the pantry food and sell it.
3. Many people shopping at a pantry wouldn’t need to come to a pantry if they managed their money better.
Very few people are comfortable with the concept that pantry volunteers give the food away…no strings attached. An unspoken concept here is that the hungry, the struggling class, individually and as a group should be punished for being the downtrodden.
Sometimes when I try to sort the whole thing out in my head, I’m reminded of the chicken yard my grandmother had during World War II. Occasionally, a chicken would be ill and the other chickens would begin to peck at it. If the chicken didn’t get well, it would be pecked to death.
For me, this is simply not an issue. I welcome all shoppers. They don’t have to be destitute although I did see many hungry people in a pantry. Pantry shoppers everywhere routinely endure
uncomfortable waiting conditions
lack of choice.
The lines in a pantry can routinely be longer than an hour. The hungry wait in line whether it’s raining, snowing, or if there are broiling summer temperatures. Outside pantry buildings, there is little or no protection from the elements.
The hungry wait in these lines to have access to about 30 different food products. Compare that number to a trip to your local super market with it’s 10,000 or more items to choose from.
And, finally, if I ever could take the attitude that hungry people must have done something wrong and don’t deserve that kind of food, I remember the time I foolishly asked a child in line in the basement of the Woodstock Reformed Church about Christmas.
Santa doesn’t come to families that stand in the pantry line.
Thanks for reading this blog/book.
The story is true. The people are real.
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