Profiting from Food Banks
Before I begin I need to make one thing very clear. I am not writing this article to disparage or criticize Food Banks or the people who run them. Food Banks and the volunteers who give their time are among the heroes in our society today. They are doing everything they can to help those less fortunate than themselves. They should be applauded and recognized for all they do out of the goodness of their hearts.
My issue is with the companies that supply them. We have all seen the ads touting how these companies are donating millions of dollars worth of food to help feed the poor. Some actually ARE doing that. Unfortunately there are a lot of others who are using the Food Banks and the tables of the poor as a means to save themselves disposal costs and gain tax credits.
Why would I say such a thing? Because over the past few months we, like so many others in our country, have been brought low by circumstances and rising costs. We can no longer afford NOT to frequent the local food banks. Here is what I have found:
Most of the food is prepackaged items high in carbohydrates and sugars. Cookies, sugar loaded cereals, outdated chips and crackers, pastas, candies are all in the boxes pretty much every week. That alone is not surprising. As a side note, it answers a question I often asked in the past: If these people are so poor, how come they are so often overweight?! How can you be poor and fat?! Try living on a diet consisting primarily of carbs and junk foods and you will find out!
But that’s not the worst of it. Remember I said businesses were saving themselves disposal fees by donating the things they would normally be expected to either return to manufacturers or dump? Look at the dates on the packages in the images below which we received in the Oct. 10, 2020 distribution in our little rural town.
Dairy products are sometimes available. Again, the dairy is either already expired or will expire in a matter of days. Neighbors who regularly frequent Food Banks tell me of eggs that explode for no reason in their refrigerators or that turn out to be rotten when cracked to prepare a meal, milk being sour, “fresh” juices so old they have mold in the cartons when they are opened. I checked the dates on a few things in the Octo. 10, 2020 distribution. Images below:
The “fresh produce” is even worse. Most of the time there are lots of bags of potatoes, apples and oranges but again, they are “on the edge”. When they have time, the Food Bank workers will pick through it and just give each family a few items like tomatoes, apples and oranges that are still good. More often they will set out boxes and tell folks to go ahead and pick through and take all they want. Most of the produce is so moldy and rotten people don’t want to touch it, let alone pick through it.
At recent distributions we received blueberries and strawberries. Yay! They looked great! 4 containers to each family. However, when we got them home and opened the little plastic crates we found under that lovely top layer most of the fruit was again moldy and/or appeared to be freezer burned. After washing and picking through the 4 containers of each type of fruit we were left with just under a single 10 or 12 ounce crate that was still edible.
The policy on bread is pretty much the same. Take all you want because it’s usually starting to get moldy.
Meats are iffy as well. There are usually either chicken, ham or hamburger. Most of the time it is frozen and either freezer burned, semi-thawed or showing signs of having been previously frozen, thawed and refrozen at least once, if not more. This is another item I have received calls from other recipients on, telling me not to eat such and such because they got sick after eating it. And that’s not just one call. A few weeks ago four different people called cautioning not to eat the chicken that had been distributed that week because their families had gotten sick from eating it.
Looking at the “use by” date on this ham, I am not surprised. Yes things last longer when frozen but even frozen food is questionable after a year in a commercial walk in freezer.
So I have to ask:
Are companies trying to help the poor or are they looking for a free place to dispose of their garbage?
Is it right to feed garbage to people just because they are experiencing difficulties and need help feeding themselves?
What can we do to change this trend and get truly nutritious food to those in need?
To add insult to injury, here is the letter that was in each box in the Oct. 10, 2020 distribution in our town wherein Mr. Trump tells each “Dear Family” how much he and his administration care about the poor in our country and how much they have done/are doing to improve people’s lives.