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

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  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 2:24 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:11 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:13 a.m.

    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!

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Nov. 20, 2012 6:59 a.m.

    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?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:16 a.m.

    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.

  • Grundle West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:35 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 9:15 a.m.

    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.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    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.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    Re:Mountanman

    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.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 12:16 p.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 12:34 p.m.

    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.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 12:50 p.m.

    "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
    Nov. 20, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    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
    Nov. 20, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    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.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 2:15 p.m.

    @mike richards
    and some people understand that passing judgement and making personal judgments of who among us is the deserving poor are inconsistent with the Christian values you claim. Do you understand why when you try to use your religious beliefs to claim a moral superiority why no one takes your serious? look back at your comments then you might begin to understand.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    Perhaps some of the self proclaimed "conservatives" who post here condemning as lazy anyone who needs some help should watch Ken Burns' Dust Bowl on Channel 7 for a picture of hard working people, who through no fault of their own, were demolished and brought to the edge of destruction.

    I don't want to wish ill upon anyone, but perhaps some of those people would really benefit from a practical lesson in compassion that could be taught to them by having someone close to them demolished by an accident, sudden illness, loss of a job, or an insurance company that refused to pay for treatment of a horrible disease.

    How long do you think it would take for them to become one of those awful "takers" they constantly and so viciously demean?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    “Suppose that in this community there are ten beggars who beg from door to door for something to eat, and that nine of them are imposters who beg to escape work, and with an evil heart practice imposition upon the generous and sympathetic, and that only one of the ten who visit your doors is worthy of your bounty; which is best, to give food to the ten, to make sure of helping the truly needy one, or to repulse the ten because you do not know which one is the worthy one? You will all say, administer charitable gifts to the ten rather than turn away the only truly worthy and truly needy person among them. If you do this, it will make no difference in your blessings, whether you administer to worthy or unworthy persons, inasmuch as you give alms with a single eye to assist the truly needy.” ~ Brigham Young

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Some of us know that we have a stewardship and that that stewardship does not require that we let thieves take from us those assets entrusted to us by the Lord to care for ourselves and for our families.

    No church opens its treasury and allows people to take whatever they want. The stewards of that church evaluate the needs and the ability of those that they serve. They help with money and resources SOME of those who ask. They do not give to everyone who comes knocking. Christ explained that very clearly that not everyone will receive the "reward" that they expected, just because they asked.

    Hard-hearted people turn away the needy, but good-hearted people give some of their assets to churches and other organizations to help take care of the poor.

    In Salt Lake there are many organizations that lift those who are willing to be lifted. No one who gives freely to his church needs to think that he has not done his part in helping the poor.

    Those who judge us because they think that we should give more are those who are under condemnation.

  • dwaynerichards Provo, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 4:46 p.m.

    mark,

    "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."

    Somehow I don't think it matters if she was there or not since you weren't there and dont know her. There are those who are accusing Trish Mercer of being conservative or Republican even though she's registered as unaffiliated voter which means she apparently doesn't vote in Utah's Republican Primary which is a closed primary. Hardly someone who cares more about politics than about the fact people are taking advantage of these charities.

    "But I also think the letter is reeking of politics."

    Theres no evidence of that. She left politics out of it.

    "My brother is one of the hardest working people I know."

    Everything you say about your brother gets the same response as you gave Mom of 8. If you want to say she can't speak for Trish then you can't speak for how hard your brother works unless you work side by side with him every day of his life.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    @ j thomas

    two things mike, first there is a world of difference between having a steward that makes sure things are being used most effectively and what you are doing on these threads right. what you are doing is passing judgement without information from high above even though you do not have the authority of any church that gives you even the authority to insure proper use of resources let alone pass judgment on people on random threads in the paper, but nice try. secondly I don;t remember reading anywhere Jesus talking about haveing "stewards"

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    Nov. 20, 2012 5:26 p.m.

    Oh look at the leftist haters on these boards! When someone gives a firsthand account of the shortfalls of public welfare, they come unhinged and viciously angry that anybody would discuss such a topic. In their minds such "nonsense" could not exist, because NPR, or CNN or MSNBC never discussed or verified it for them. Even the Anointed One would never admit to this. It's as if they still need an excuse for themselves, to validate the baseless and foolish reasons they voted for the guy. Now excuse me while I head over to my local Wal Mart, so I can stand in line behind the couple with their designer shoes, talking on their smartphones, buying a cart full of twinkies and ding dongs, with their EBT card. 10 to 1 that it's their late model SUV parked beside my 13 year old half ton truck chevy in the parking lot!

  • L White Springville, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 6:09 p.m.

    Isn't it cute how those who spend their time attacking other posters by name pretend to be true Christians. My goodness, when will they ever learn about "motes" and "beams"?

    No one is required to feed the fraudulent imposters who try to take advantage. The government prosecutes fraud. Some posters would tell us that they feed and clothe anyone who knocks at their door, but then we all know what The Lord said about those who lie.

    The LDS Church has asked that people contribute funds to those organizations which have the ability to help, yet some posters would have us believe that they, not that church, know how to best handle society's problems.

    Liberals have a very hard time helping anyone, but they have no problem telling the rest of us what we should do.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 8:21 p.m.

    Uh. . . Dwayne, do I really need to explain the difference to you between knowing where my brother works and the hours he puts in, and someone claiming to know what a person said because her friend told her that her husband told her that some one else said such and such. Really?

    Besides, it doesn't matter, my point is that hard working people get assistance (and if you don't know that I really don't know what to say), and I think it a bit callouss to suggest they should have to do even more work to get help.

    I also conceded, already, that yes some people do abuse the system. And yes that's wrong. Also, I think the letter writer might just be exaggerating, though I don't imagine she is out and out lying.

    Anyway, now that we have that cleared up. . .

    The reason I think the letter is clearly political is because, in case you have missed it, there is a rather contentious national discussion going on right now dealing with issues of entitlement, and "takers" vs "producers" and this letter feeds right into it.

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    Nov. 21, 2012 9:51 a.m.

    L White, paraphrased, in reverse order:

    (Liberals don't help others, Mormons are supposed to give generously, and never suggest any way to help make anything really better, anyone who says they help others is a liar, the government prevents all fraud in its programs, so no one is forced (taxed) ever to feed the fraudulent imposters.)

    And finally, your 'cute' remark about Christians, and,

    "My goodness, when will they ever learn about "motes" and "beams"?"

    MOTES and BEAMS!!???? Coming from you? Who didn't you attack? Or if you attack everyone, then it is okay?

    Where do you get this view of the world, and of people? I feel bad for you because you don't know how nice most people are.

    I have reread my post, ie looked for the beam. I sincerely believe that nursing anger makes people hateful and unhappy. I made a sincere suggestion, which you have the freedom to try or ignore.

    My conscience is clear, and so are my eyes. Happiness is a wonderful thing!