Thursday, September 8, 2011

Muskegon Food Pantry Running on Empty

Yes yes, everybody is talking about the president's AAAAAAAWESOME speech tonight.

What can I add to that conversation? Nothin'. Except to say that I'm proud to call Obama the Prez.

No, what I'm going to talk about this fine and balmy evening is something depressing. So sit down. Sit down for a moment.

No matter what you think about the Salvation Army, and if you're some Liberal SOB like me I'm sure you've got some opinions. But no matter what you think about the Salvation Army itself, the substance is that the food pantry in Muskegon is drying up because of surging food demand and faltering donations.

Unless something gives, people who rely on the Salvation Army food pantry may only be able to get food every two months.

Muskegon Salvation Army Capt. Dan Sawka said requests for food assistance have more than doubled compared to last year. The pantry now allows a recipient to get a week's worth of food every 30 days, he said.


From October 2010 to August 2011, the Salvation Army pantry has fielded 2,730 requests for food, Sawka said. In the previous fiscal year, it saw 1,389 cases.
Of this year's cases, about 600 were people or families who had never needed food assistance before. That's an 85 percent increase from last year's first-time users, Sawka said.

The local Salvation Army food pantry has seen food requests DOUBLE since the previous year, from 1300 food requests to 2700 food requests and now they're running so long on food donations that they're on the verge of further limiting the amount of food they give out to each family. Right now a family can go to the Salvation Army once very 30 days. If food donations don't pick up, the Muskegon Salvation Army branch will change their policy so that a family must wait 60 days before they are eligible for another food request.


We're talking FOOD here. We're not talking plasma televisions or gold nuggets. We're not talking Pokemon cards or iPod shuffles. We're talking spaghetti and apple sauce.

One of the most infuriating memes pressed and pressed and pressed and pressed and pressed by the modern day ultraconservatives is that there are some things that the Government should not do. They promote the notion CHARITIES are the ideal method for dealing with entitlements and physical human needs.

Of course that completely ignores that POOR communities have fewer resources, and fewer people making donations...while RICH communities won't actually SEE the need. And besides, there's some stupid celebrity cause made high profile by a movie or TV docudrama and now everybody is donating their cash to help save a brain damaged otter in Seattle. Forget about the food pantry in WhoTheHellCares, Indiana. Maybe if they were more adorable.

This whole notion that charities will be the pathway to helping with physical needs is absurd. West Michigan is packed ear to ear with hyper conservative Christians who love to elect hyperconservatives who talk endlessly about how charitable everybody is and how charities, not Government, will help people.

So you'd think donating to the Salvation Army would be something these dudes did every week like clockwork.

Not so much, as it turns out.

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