Hunger Is Not a Disease

But are they hungry? – Happy Holidays


“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

long lines

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.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

The Face of Hunger/The Face of Hope

Every Monday, she brings her little granddaughter to the pantry –

Sue, maybe 4, is shy – absolutely beautiful – and still totally unaware of her situation:


Mother working 2+ jobs

Not enough to eat

Threadbare clothes

This lovely child takes pleasure in the smallest treats.  Today her treat is a can of juice one of the volunteers found that’s not yet dented.

Her grandmother is teaching her to:

stand in line quietly


say “thank you”.

How these mothers and grandmothers can get these little children to stand perfectly still and quiet for the time it takes to go through the line is completely beyond me.

But, back to the story.They get a 3-day supply of food which will last for 7 days, this struggling pair.

She’s always happy visit  the pantry.  It’s got 2 rooms so their next stop is the produce room where they have apples today.

Garrett and Susanne also keep the place well stocked with children’s books so there will be another treat for her.

When I see this pair, I see the universal grandmother and granddaughter next door.  They are us.  They are our neighbors.  They are our cousins.  I am reminded that we do not live in a we/they world.  The hungry are us.

I’ve been working in a food  pantry for years…certainly long enough to have become hardened to the reality and face of hunger.  However, that is not what has happened.  If anything, I’m more sensitive to the issues.  I now truly believe that humans are not meant to suffer hunger and poverty.  We are not meant to turn our heads away from the issue of hunger.

Most poor families in America are working families.  The low wages earned by the millions of hungry Americans are not enough to cover the cost of housing, medical care, child care, transportation, clothing and food.

As the Struggling Class begins cutting food because the budget no longer allows it, they begin by cutting out meat.  If that is not enough, they go to the second level and cut out meat, vegetables and eat eat only cereals.

Finally, it means cutting out an entire meal every day.

Food Pantries offer the hope of at least not starving to death.  When people visit food pantries they can get food which they otherwise could not purchase.  This brings hope to us all – not only the hungry but to those who work to appease the situation.

Thank you for reading this blog/book.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco





Is This Life Now?

The New York Times – Friday, February 27, 2015 – “Food Waste Grows with the Middle Class” – page A24
A recent New York Times Editorial highlighted the “massive food waste” around the world. I urge you to read it. It was extremely well written, as are all of the NYT editorials.
Containing all the right buzz words:
waste disposal,
global warming threat,
it just didn’t go far enough.

FOOD PANTRIES FEED THEIR CLIENTS SURPLUS FOOD INTERCEPTED ON ITS WAY TO THE LANDFILL. They simply no longer have the $$$ for food at the supermarket or they live in food deserts (neighborhoods where there are no grocery stores or supermarkets.)

Is this life now? Yes, this is life in 21st century America. This is not emergency food. This is the new way we live in the good old U S of A.

PEOPLE ARE OFTEN ASHAMED TO SHOP IN PANTRIES. They don’t want to be seen bringing pantry food home. They don’t want to explain to their friends, neighbors, relatives about their inability to buy food at the supermarket. Well, now they can move on past the shame and embarrassment. With this New York Times editorial, we can all see that hungry people lacking $$$ to purchase food at a grocery store are now a part of the solution instead of the problem.

Hungry people shopping at food pantries help fight food waste. Food pantry shoppers can now realize they are helping reduce global warming emissions.

People shopping at pantries are in a financial bind where they are forced to make trade-offs. They pay rent when they don’t have enough food to eat. They “heat or eat”.

Often, they make health care trade-offs. People unable to seek needed medical care are unable to make good choices. Eventually they’ll be forced to deal with the medical situation and the longer they wait, the more expensive the situation becomes. The healthcare $$$ has been diverted to rent or transportation to get to work.

Articles like the New York Times editorial make it difficult for citizens in our country to completely ignore the fact that more and more people are going without food in our great nation because they simply don’t have the $$$ to buy it. We can no longer deny that hunger exists and it is becoming more and more difficult to be indifferent about it.

So, now, with this editorial, those of us who are hungry and ashamed of the situation we are caught in can feel better about ourselves. We can now shop at the pantry and eat at the soup kitchen knowing that we are, in spite of the low wages we work for, doing our part for a healthy planet. We are fighting global warming. We are our tax dollars at work.

If you read this blog and feel you are among those who don’t have enough $$$ for food, now is a good time to begin to shop at a pantry for the food you need for your household.
There is no better time than now for you to not only support your community but also your planet.
See you at the pantry!

Thank you for reading this blog.
Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.
If you found this article a help, please leave your comments below and check out our other posts.
Don’t forget to join the email list.
Peace and food for all.
Thurman Greco

Why Don’t You All Go Out and Get a Job?

I’m sorry I’m late to work in the pantry today Thurman.  I promise it won’t happen again.  I was over at the pet store until just now unpacking and stacking the dog food.  They gave me food for Chloe and Freedy in exchange for working today.  I promise it won’t happen again.”

“Alice, don’t worry at all.  Robyn happened by.  Sometimes I think this pantry is charmed.  People always surface when we need them.  It’s very important for you to get pet food and you know how the building committee feels about  pet food in the pantry.”

WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE IN NEED OF A PANTRY?  Why are there so many people in our country today?  What is happening?

Employment opportunities are a large part of the problem.  People find themselves down and out in places where there are few jobs.  Young people graduate from high school or college and can’t find employment.

The downturn of 2008 erased many job opportunities.  When the economy finally does recover, many of these jobs won’t be returning.  My fear is that the recovery will create a new, large class of citizens permanently living in the poverty of underemployment and unemployment.


Education costs are a factor.  Fewer and fewer people can afford college these days.  Some are afraid of the college loans they might not be able to pay off.  One young  woman in our line works 60 hours weekly in low wage jobs to repay her loan.

A fairly common question I hear in the  pantry line is “Are you working on or off?”  What they’re finding out with the question is how many hours a person is working on the books and how many hours off the books.  Not only is this illegal but it’s robbing our younger generation of any benefit accrual, and the opportunity to pay taxes.


Our country needs to make a few fundamental attitude adjustments.

One important shift is to realize that food stamps, food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters are no longer emergency concepts.  They are a new way of life in 21st century America.  When we accept this fact, the shame factor will be removed and seniors and children will sleep better at night unaccompanied by their old friend hunger.

Thank you for reading this blog/book.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Please send a comment.

Don’t forget to join my mailing list.

Peace and food for all.