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Old 11-05-2013, 09:14 AM   #76
Granny square
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Originally Posted by crisi View Post
Food IS the most basic need. And these are other human beings. And almost everyone in this board can afford to go to Disney - if we believe the current survey 80% of us make more than the median income in this country. They can loan out the Mercedes and buy their grandkids designer clothes for the same reason why we can go to Disney while people visit the food shelf. Because we are entitled to make choices with what we do with our money. We can choose to help our relatives, we can choose to help strangers, we can choose to drive a Mercedes, buy designer clothes, and go to Disney. Some of us choose to do a little of each of these things, but none of us is required to directly support any other human being once they are an adult and we get to choose how to help - other than the tax dollars that are spent helping fill in the gaps where we have been too selfish as a society to fill them in completely.
I agree.

But I also believe that a parent driving a Mercedes could probably help their kid buy groceries. So I get her bewilderment.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:19 AM   #77
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Our foodbank will take almost anything (can't be past the expiration date). It must be nice to be a food bank with enough donations that you can ask for people not to bring in Mac n Cheese. Reminds me of dog rescue organizations that have so many homes looking for dogs that they can afford to turn up their noses at families that don't have a fence.

Of course, they have preferred foods - they'd rather see things with decent nutritional value, fewer boxes of mac-n-cheese, white pasta, cans of green beans. They'd like it more if people shopped for the food shelf with "healthy, easy, and shelf stable" in mind - but they know a lot of their food comes from "Mom, we are having a food drive at school, what should I bring?" where a can of green beans or peaches in heavy syrup gets grabbed from a shelf - or worse, the can of beets that you thought maybe your family might eat sometime when you bought it two years ago. It would always be nice to get more tuna fish and canned chicken. The LOVED the Girl Scout cookies we brought in last year (I donate my extras), its a big treat when something like cookies shows up on a shelf.
But is it better to have only a few high-quality items on the shelves and end up turning people away? What purpose does a food pantry serve if there is very little food available to distribute? I wonder if the people running the pantry in the PP's post considered that the hungry people that they serve wouldn't care if they got white pasta, non-organic, sugar-added cereal and process potato flakes? Wouldn't a free-range turkey for Thanksgiving be great? But ANY turkey would make a lot of struggling families happy.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:33 AM   #78
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I agree.

But I also believe that a parent driving a Mercedes could probably help their kid buy groceries. So I get her bewilderment.
Sure, and maybe the parent has helped, and helped, and helped, and is now at the point where they say "All I'm doing for you is taking you down to the food bank because you don't have any other way to get there and I'm not going to let you starve. But I'm done buying you groceries."

When my nephew was eighteen he was a high school drop out that sat in front of a video game screen. My sister in law tried all sorts of things. Finally, she drove him to the mission and helped him get a bed in the shelter. He stayed one night, came home, enrolled to get his GED and started looking for a job. Six months later, his old habits returned. She drove him back to the shelter. This time, it was winter and there wasn't a bed - so she relented - she put a camp cot and a portable heater in the garage and told him he could come in to use the bathroom.

Her son is autistic - he has his challenges. But he also now has his high school degree and holds a job. He still lives at home, his job doesn't pay enough to support himself yet, but he's working on learning to fix computers. When she dies - which parents inevitably do and her and her husband are older parents with their own health challenges - he will be capable of supporting himself - he'll never be rich, but she's given him to tools to be self sufficient - and only by forcing him to be so.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:35 AM   #79
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Sure, and maybe the parent has helped, and helped, and helped, and is now at the point where they say "All I'm doing for you is taking you down to the food bank because you don't have any other way to get there and I'm not going to let you starve. But I'm done buying you groceries." When my nephew was eighteen he was a high school drop out that sat in front of a video game screen. My sister in law tried all sorts of things. Finally, she drove him to the mission and helped him get a bed in the shelter. He stayed one night, came home, enrolled to get his GED and started looking for a job. Six months later, his old habits returned. She drove him back to the shelter. This time, it was winter and there wasn't a bed - so she relented - she put a camp cot and a portable heater in the garage and told him he could come in to use the bathroom. Her son is autistic - he has his challenges. But he also now has his high school degree and holds a job. He still lives at home, his job doesn't pay enough to support himself yet, but he's working on learning to fix computers. When she dies - which parents inevitably do and her and her husband are older parents with their own health challenges - he will be capable of supporting himself - he'll never be rich, but she's given him to tools to be self sufficient - and only by forcing him to be so.
True. Just thinking through the process
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:39 AM   #80
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But is it better to have only a few high-quality items on the shelves and end up turning people away? What purpose does a food pantry serve if there is very little food available to distribute? I wonder if the people running the pantry in the PP's post considered that the hungry people that they serve wouldn't care if they got white pasta, non-organic, sugar-added cereal and process potato flakes? Wouldn't a free-range turkey for Thanksgiving be great? But ANY turkey would make a lot of struggling families happy.
I agree with you. Apparently the other food shelf either HAS plenty of food or would rather see people go hungry than eat junk.

A friend of mine is on the board of the co-op and the co-op has a constant debate about this very thing - their mission is to feed people. They are in a neighborhood that boarders a poor neighborhood. They are a bunch of liberal hippies running a co-op - they like organic, they like local, they like vegetarian, they like small producers and would rather not carry General Mills or other big food corporation products. But they also want to see people eat and eat healthy - so they also carry non-organic milk and sell it below cost, because finding food in the inner city can be tough, and they carry non-organic vegetables, and they carry things that none of them would consume because they aren't 'healthy' or 'sustainable' - but they sustain the poorer community they are next to.

(They do not carry Twinkies or Wonder bread though )
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:20 AM   #81
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I believe there are folks who are truly needy, down on their luck and need a break. And I know there are folks who abuse the system - happens all the time in our area with fraud, etc. (SS Fraud, EBT Fraud - convictions, etc.)

A food bank is not run by the government so in my opinion can give/do what/how they want.

But for those that get government assistance with tax dollars there really needs to be a better way to cut out the abuse. If you have a system that is honest and open then there are no questions, no judgements, etc.

I agree with those that ask why those with relatives who help out do not help with buying of necessities vs. other items? Have our priorities changed so much in this country that we would rather our relatives have the latest style of clothing vs. the food they need?

Then there is the question of ethics - if you can work but choose not to work and receive public assistance - is that right? I think this particular scenario is what is more of what I have an issue with because its not a matter of out right fraud but rather an question ethics and personal responsibility.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:23 AM   #82
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Great post!!!
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #83
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I agree with those that ask why those with relatives who help out do not help with buying of necessities vs. other items? Have our priorities changed so much in this country that we would rather our relatives have the latest style of clothing vs. the food they need?

Then there is the question of ethics - if you can work but choose not to work and receive public assistance - is that right? I think this particular scenario is what is more of what I have an issue with because its not a matter of out right fraud but rather an question ethics and personal responsibility.
When my brother in law was dying, we bought him a house to live in - so I think we did our part. He couldn't work any longer, the chemo had him in a state where he couldn't hold a job. He qualified for SSDI (I think it was SSDI) which didn't pay much, he also qualified for Food Stamps.

First of all, he spent 35 years of his life working and paying into the system - he was entitled to Food Stamps and SSDI. He paid taxes for 35 years to help others, now he needed help.

Second, he had a few years at most to live (it was two from diagnosis to death - almost exactly). Are you really going to begrudge us that we bought him a few shirts rather than buy him food when he was entitled to Food Stamps?

Third, he never admitted he was getting SNAP benefits. Didn't know until I was going through his papers. I think he was far more willing to admit he needed other help, and that he got other benefits (insurance through the state, SSDI) than SNAP. There is something shaming about SNAP and a lot of people don't want to admit that they get those benefits. He didn't want help feeding himself. He did want to feel like we thought him special enough to give gifts to. And, of course, near the end we were giving him rides to the store.

This is a guy who when he was healthy we bailed him out several times from his stupid decisions, so he had no problem running to his brother for help when his soon to be ex wife had only "said" she paid the mortgage while she was off on a spending spree and their house was about to be foreclosed on. But asking your family to pay for your groceries, there is something belittling about that.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:42 AM   #84
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:49 AM   #85
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About the Cell Phones...

Sure, there were people in line holding cell phones, but consider this...

Just because they have a cell phone doesn't mean they have a "secret stash of cash".

Most basic flip phones can be had for nearly nothing, thanks to the prepaid world and also the free "Lifeline" phones (which have been incorrectly referred-to in internet forums as the "Obamaphone").

I am by no means "poor", but I pay a low $35 a month for my smartphone -- appearances can be deceiving...
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:58 AM   #86
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Are you really going to begrudge us that we bought him a few shirts rather than buy him food when he was entitled to Food Stamps?
I'm sorry that you had to endure your brother-in-law's sickness and death - I wouldn't wish that on anyone (having myself endured watching family slowly die).

I don't believe anyone is responsible for another person (outside of a parent or legal guardian being responsible for a child) for any of their actions, finances, etc. regardless if they are family or not.

However, I don't understand the thought process of buying someone something they don't need in lieu of something they need. (And yes I do believe clothing is a need but not named brand clothing). Your brother-in-law needed clothing and food - he had access to food via welfare but not clothing. You provided that necessity.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:07 AM   #87
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I'm sorry that you had to endure your brother-in-law's sickness and death - I wouldn't wish that on anyone (having myself endured watching family slowly die). I don't believe anyone is responsible for another person (outside of a parent or legal guardian being responsible for a child) for any of their actions, finances, etc. regardless if they are family or not. However, I don't understand the thought process of buying someone something they don't need in lieu of something they need. (And yes I do believe clothing is a need but not named brand clothing). Your brother-in-law needed clothing and food - he had access to food via welfare but not clothing. You provided that necessity.

Maybe we should only get angel tree clothes at goodwill. And fill thanksgiving baskets with beans and rice. No one needs turkey.

I can hit hollister during clearance and get $3 and $5 shirts that will wash 50 times and only get softer. Or walmart and have the shirts pilling in 4 washes. Yes. I've done both. "Name branded" clothing isn't evil or a lesser value.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:42 AM   #88
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Maybe we should only get angel tree clothes at goodwill. And fill thanksgiving baskets with beans and rice. No one needs turkey.
Not necessary and taking it to an extreme don't you think? Nothing of what you just stated above can be inferred by what I stated.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:43 AM   #89
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I'm sorry that you had to endure your brother-in-law's sickness and death - I wouldn't wish that on anyone (having myself endured watching family slowly die).

I don't believe anyone is responsible for another person (outside of a parent or legal guardian being responsible for a child) for any of their actions, finances, etc. regardless if they are family or not.

However, I don't understand the thought process of buying someone something they don't need in lieu of something they need. (And yes I do believe clothing is a need but not named brand clothing). Your brother-in-law needed clothing and food - he had access to food via welfare but not clothing. You provided that necessity.
He honestly had plenty of clothing - trust me, I'm the one who hauled it to Goodwill. What he didn't ever get enough of, although he got a lot of it - was the knowledge that people cared about him, thought of him and were willing to give him their time, their affection and - well - stuff. Because "while you were ill we went to Disney, but we were thinking about you and bought you this" matters.

The other thing is that - well, I'll be blunt. My total tax burden is over six figures. I paid for his food stamps. He should darn well get to use them.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:49 AM   #90
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There is a lot of need...and there is a lot of fraud. These threads are always full of antedotal stories - I have mine as well of both abuse AND need. It's always important to note that those defending the need also acknowledge the abuse and those identifying the abuse also acknowledge the need. One does not exclude the other. I did snicker a little at the "box of mac and cheese." We did a food drive last year for a local food bank and boxed mac and cheese was actually on the "do not donate" list. The "donate' list was extremely limited actually - whole grain, organics, etc. Nothing processed, only canned items with no extra sugar added, etc. I understand wanting to distribute healthier items, but after seeing the list, I know why the shelves are emptier. The old adage "beggars can't be choosers" came to mind. We are again getting the request from the food bank to help, and again getting the limited "acceptable" donation list. It's unfortunate but I suspect their donations will be down again.
This sounds like a bank ran by someone who doesn't know what it means to be hungry. They should be happy to take anything they can get. Smh
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