Comments about ‘Letter: Groceries at food banks should be for those in need, not for those who feel entitled’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Tooele, UT

When I was in college I volunteered at the Utah Food Bank. One of the main points that was emphasized to me and my fellow volunteers who would deliver food orders was, "Don't assume someone doesn't need a food order just because their house looks nice or the people you meet don't look like their starving. You don't truly know people's circumstances just by stepping inside their house."

I would say, based on my experience, the two examples described by the letter writer is much more the exception than the rule. When people are out of work, underemployed or have a ton of medical bills it's hard to imagine them standing there saying, "We don't like the food we have." Rather, it's more likely they're saying, "We don't like the fact we have no food at all."

True, there are those who are looking to cheat the system and get more than they're entitled to, but again I feel this is the exception to the rule.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

What a bunch of cooked-up nonsense! Anecdotal evidence doesn't prove anything. This type of hysteria is what prompts people to buy into the Mitt Romney ideology. Either help the needy in the true sense of helping or butt-out. Your self-righteous attitude isn't helping anybody.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

While I'm waiting for my Obama Gift Bag, can I go to that magnanimous food bank for all my Twinkies and Ding Dongs????
People in this state are so charitable! They'll give out all the canned tomato soup and kidney beans you could possibly ever need!

Casa Grande, AZ

Really? There were multiple families that said, "we just don't like that food" ?

What is it that makes people start making things up? Food banks are privately run and may not require any proof of the neediness of their takers.

The government however does. Oh, what happened there? You agree with government based charity practices?

Hayden, ID

There should be work requirements for welfare. You need assistance? Fine, here is your food order and your work assignment is to clean windows of the post office building or pick up trash along the highway or whatever work you are capable of doing for the value you received. Everyone benefits, especially the recipient.

Christian 24-7
Murray, UT

I didn't read any politics in this letter. I wonder why some of you did?

All I read is, if those who have enough food would leave the donated food for those who are truly in need, we would have more food on the shelves to feed the needy.

I am sure there are those who need to hear that message, and I think their numbers are few.

Quit nursing your anger and hate and you might see the world as it is. You would find out the world if filled, mostly, with kind, good, and generous people, even in Utah.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

I, too, have volunteered at food banks in Utah and Idaho. I, too, did this under the assumption that it wasn't my job to judge who was "worthy" of the food bank's assistance. It is not my business to determine who needs or does not need help. My view was that I'd rather help a few dishonest people in order help the vast majority who needed the assistance.

One time I was working at the Boise Food Bank with a group from my office and we packed backpacks for kids during the school year which were given to kids on Fridays so they would have at least something healthy to eat over the weekend when the schools were closed. I cannot fathom poverty like that coming from an upper middle class upbringing. I was humbled to be working there and sobbed like a baby pretty much all day when I thought of how happy these children were to have some apples, some cheese sticks, and such. My job wasn't to judge, just to help.

West Jordan, UT

I think the letter writer's point is a good one. Leave the charity to those who truly need it. If you can do for yourself, then do it. If not, then we are here to help.

I think some of the critical posts on this forum reflect the poster's world view more than the letter writer's.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Why can't I shake the feeling that this letter is an outright lie?

Is lying for political reasons -- and this letter is certainly political -- one of those sacred conservative UTAH VALUES we keep hearing about but no one can actually define?

Mom of 8
Hyrum, UT

I know the letter writer. Sorry to say, these incidents are completely true. I told her to write about it.

There are people--likely not the majority, but enough--abusing the system, and their abuse means there's less for those who truly need it.

Orem, UT

Just because someone's story doesn't conform to your world view, doesn't make it a lie.

With a $3.5 trillion annual federal budget, I am quite certain that the system is rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. Sure, a lot goes to the truly needy, but when it is this easy to get on the government dole, we shouldn't be surprised when lots of capable people have their hand out.

If the mainstream press was in the tank for the GOP the way it currently is for Obama, we would see thousands of "60 minutes" type stories in the news showing people cheating the system. Lots of people would be shown in "Perp walks" after being caught buying a big screen TV or other expensive toy just after their stop at the food bank.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Private commercial charities, even those owned by churches, are business operations. The main purpose for their operation is the money redistribution to their owner/operators. They have been operating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, and have done little to nothing about the causes of the affliction.

The writer chides an employee for taking advantage to the world but says nothing about the government handouts and freebies given to business operators. The facts are that businesses are favored at every level of government and are the main impetus of all government actions. Every government action, law, policy and even our protection comes with a profit motive for business.

The rest of that story is, this procedure of government/business is the only way us ordinary non-business people have any benefits, rights or freedoms secured by government.

Yes people take advantage of the world, but it has nothing to do with wealth or social status, all people rich or poor want more.

salt lake, UT

I remember a time not so long ago when people would hide their vile hatered towards their fellow man and at least try to pretend to be christ like, I miss those days.

American Fork, UT

I know people who scam the food bank. Essentially, it frees up discretionary spending money for them, if someone else buys or at least supplements their groceries. I understand that food banks probably can't control this but it doesn't make me want to give anything to them.



Welfare reform, the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act" was enacted by Pres. Clinton and a Republican Congress.

PRWORA proposed TANF as AFDC’s replacement. The Congressional findings in PRWORA highlighted dependency, out-of-wedlock birth, and intergenerational poverty as the main contributors to a faulty system. In instituting a block grant program, PRWORA granted states the ability to design their own systems, as long as states met a set of basic federal requirements. The bill's primary requirements and effects included the following:
Ending welfare as an entitlement program;
Requiring recipients to begin working after two years of receiving benefits;
Placing a lifetime limit of five years on benefits paid by federal funds;
Aiming to encourage two-parent families and discouraging out-of-wedlock births.

The legislation also greatly limited funds available for unmarried parents under 18 and restricted any funding to immigrants (legal or illegal).Some state programs emphasized a shift towards work with names such as "Wisconsin Works" and "WorkFirst." Between 1997 and 2000, enormous numbers of the poor have left or been terminated from the program, with a national drop of 53% in total recipients.

Sandy, UT

I think somethings amiss in Hyrum. The first step in our welfare reform needs to be the Military, the second corporate subsidies. Hard working employees of a certain giant retailer qualify for food stamps. How does that fit into Mountanman's theory of how the world works?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are principles involved. Some people think that others in society "owe" them food, clothing and a place to live. Others know that they are responsible for themselves and that if they fall on hard times that their extended family is first in line to solve their financial problems.

When "family" is involved, the cause of the problem and the solution is known to all. Family members help when needed, but they expect those receiving help to do all that they can to eliminate the "problem". Everyone benefits. Those who give show that they care. Those who receive show that they are willing to work when given the opportunity.

Government welfare only extends the problem. People are paid to have children out of wedlock. People are paid to sit at home and do nothing to solve their problem. People are paid so that government workers can continue to receive their "substantial" salaries.

Nothing in government is focused on solving the problem. Everything in government is focused on prolonging the problem.

We have many who are needy among us. Their wants are real. Their pain is real. They need help. They don't need a mindless welfare system.

Salt Lake City, UT

"I know the letter writer. Sorry to say, these incidents are completely true. I told her to write about it."

Really mom of 8, you were there with her when she saw these many basements packed with food? You were there with her husband when he confronted his employee? Really? Somehow I don't think you were.

But, even though I think the letter writer is very much exaggerating, there are people that abuse the system. But I also think the letter is reeking of politics.

And then you have Mountanman. He thinks anyone getting assistance needs to be washing windows or picking up trash, never thinking for a minute that the vast majority of people that get assistance, other then the elderly or infirm, are the WORKING poor. My brother is one of the hardest working people I know. He works long hours, weekends, holidays, he has not had a vacation in twenty years, actually I don't think he has ever had a vacation. The work he does is back breaking, body destroying. And he gets paid dirt.

And Mountanman wants him to do more work just for the little gov help he and his wife get.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

Okay, Mike Richards and Mountanman, let me ask you this so we can keep on the subject of the letter at hand. How many government-run food banks are there out there in Utah? Now tell me how many non-profit, volunteer-dependent food banks are out there? These are not government-run facilities. These are good people trying to help those in their communities that desperately need help. When you lump the food bank into a nameless government bureaucracy, you make yourself look foolish and insult their hard work and service to their fellow man. Take a look at the Board of Directors for the Utah Food Bank and tell me how many "mindless welfare" bureaucrats are on that list. I'll save you the trip to doing actual research and tell you the answer is none. Nada. Not one. There are good people, though from churches, banks, and corporations all donating time and money to the cause.

The Utah Food Bank has only 5% administrative overhead and for every $1 in donations they receive, $8 of foodstuffs are provided to the public.

Only cynics like Mountanman could find political fault in that.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Mike Richards,

I trust you haven't been watching the Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl. It would make you extremely uncomfortable and probably stick a pin in your inflated view of the way things ought to be in a conservative utopia.

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