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Food Banks Are ‘a Slow Death Of The Soul’

Food banks overwhelmed by backlog in food stamp system

The food fight between OConnor High School and Brandeis High School happened after Brandeis football team defeated OConnor 12-10 on Saturday night. Students from both schools headed to Whataburger where the wild food fight broke out. Cell phone video showed food, drinks and trays flying through the air as students ducked and screamed. Some students could be facing suspension for their actions, according to ABC News San Antonio affiliate KSAT-TV . Campus administrators will review videos to identify students who will face appropriate consequences including suspension from school, Northside Independent School district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said in a statement to KSAT. NISD will also cooperate with law enforcement and restaurant management in pursuing criminal charges if warranted. (Credit: Steven Perez/FLickr) A spokesman for Whataburger said they will not be seeking criminal charges. The principals from both Brandeis and OConnor high schools have reached out to Whataburger to offer their sincere apology for the food fight, Whataburger Corporate Communications said in a statement to ABC News. In addition, students from both schools, whether they were involved or not, have come to our restaurant and apologized, and we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support. The burger chain said they understood that it was an emotional moment between small groups of students that were not representative of the entire student population. The Whataburger team will continue to welcome Brandeis and OConnor students at our restaurants and were also committed to continuing the partnership and support of both high schools, the statement said.

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Some Times readers couldn’t disagree more. Those who sent us letters to the editor this week were almost unanimous in their opposition to the Republican-controlled House’s vote to pass a spending cut that would remove nearly 4 million Americans from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which provides aid to families and individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have significant trouble paying for food. Many said this action amounted to an attack on those who could least afford it; others called it immoral and unprecedented. Here is a selection of those letters. — Paul Thornton, letters editor Altadena resident J.H. Benson questions the GOP ‘s morality: “House Republicans are badly in need of a moral compass. Their hypocrisy is only surpassed by their cruelty. “The GOP says that the 4 million Americans who will be kicked off SNAP are capable of helping themselves. I hope that our very capable farmers aren’t being subsidized while this assistance to the poor is deemed too expensive.” Long Beach resident Matthew Black points out more pressing spending concerns: “The GOP has truly hit a new low. After increasing annual defense spending by more than $300 billion since 2001, spending $2 trillion on unnecessary wars and passing $1.7 trillion in tax cuts between 2001 and 2003 that primarily went to the wealthiest Americans, Republicans need to save $40 billion on food stamps. “Way to go. Why do I feel I’m reading a Charles Dickens novel?

of Americans throw out food prematurely, as TIME reported last week. Basically, consumers are confused by phrasing like use by and sell by and so, to be safe, they end up tossing perfectly good produce, snacks and more. In reality, food dating really just indicates when an item is at its peak freshness, not when it becomes inedible. All of this got Doug Rauch, the former president of the Trader Joes supermarket chain, thinking about a potential solution. And now, it seems he might have found one: a market that specializes in preparing and repackaging expired food and selling it at deeply discounted prices. He plans to launch this project, called the Daily Table, next year in Bostons working-class Dorchester neighborhood, NPR reports . (MORE: How Two German-Owned Sister Supermarket Brands Became Hot Trendsetters ) Its the idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities, Rauch told NPR. It basically tries to utilize this 40 percent of this food that is wasted.He explained that the Daily Tables setup will be kind ofa hybrid between a grocery store and a restaurant if you would, because primarily its going to take this food in, prep it, cook it [for] what I call speed-scratch cooking. The basic concept of repurposing expired food isnt new. Food banks, for example, have been doing it for years. But the idea here is to make this nutritional food an affordable, quick and easy option to people who might otherwise spend their lunch money at McDonalds. And of course, its about implementing a longer-term solution to the growing problem of wasted food across the U.S. This is about trying to tackle a very large social challenge we have, Rauch told NPR, that is going to create a health care tsunami in cost if we dont do something about it.

A backlog in the state’s food stamp program is keeping people from getting their food stamps. Food stamp recipient Bill Rickrode worked with steel his whole life until he was put on disability because of health concerns. But suddenly his food stamp help stopped. “Last month I was up for my renewal. I didn’t get my food stamps…she said it might be 2 or 3 months, some people it has been 6 months,” Rickrode told ABC11. The state’s food stamp program transitioned to an electronic system called NC FAST last October, but a backlog started in July and snowballed. At the end of August, Wake County had a backlog of over 3,000 applications. So far in September, staff have processed just over 1,500 applications, but thousands of people are still without their food stamp help. “Now I can only afford to get $50 a week for myself and $50 ain’t much when you try to go to the meat counter and get 2 or 3 packs of meat, it’s gone,” said Rickrode. Therefore, thousands of local families are turning to food pantries for help. “With NC FAST we’ve actually seen an increase in the number of folks coming to our pantry for food because of delays,” said Dr. Peter Morris with Urban Ministries. Now all these families can do is wait for the food stamp program to serve them. “Food stamp program is supposed to serve individuals within 30 days and by all accounts counties are taking 40-60 days,” said Morris. “I get frustrated when I see on the news those DHS employees that got the big raises; yet, they’re the ones that’s supposed to be doing the work that’s getting our food.

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He starts to question the entire charity food-bank model “of privileged people helping the underprivileged, perpetuating an us-and-them atmosphere”. For Saul, 47, a community organiser in his home town of Toronto, the problem he believes is that traditional food banks don’t really help the needy. Their food “handouts” are often of dismal quality, and the “transaction” the silent, humiliating transfer of the food parcel does nothing to help clients’ dignity or self-esteem, get them a job, help them out of poverty , or improve their health and wellbeing. For a moment food-bank clients are not hungry but not for long. Whose interests? “The truth is,” he writes in the book, published this week in the UK, “the more time I spend in the food bank, the more certain I am of the failure of a charitable approach to hunger and poverty, which serves the interests of food corporations and some volunteers better than it does the poor themselves.” (This revelation came to him in 1998.) He decides that The Stop , his down-at-heel food bank in central Toronto, has to get “aspirational”. Out go the bruised vegetables and the “any-food-is-better-than-no-food-for-the-poor” ethos. They take over a huge, abandoned, tram-repair shed, set up a garden and kitchens, and hold farmers’ markets, cookery courses and after-school programmes. Local food-bank clients start to volunteer. The post-food-bank model, he decides, has to be based on relationships, not transactions. The Stop has since grown to become something of a poster-child for food-poverty projects. No Logo author Naomi Klein has called it “one of our most visionary movements for justice and equality”. Chef Jamie Oliver came to visit and called it “amazing”. It now boasts an 8,000 sq ft (740 sq metres) community garden and greenhouse, producing 10,000lb (4,500kg) of vegetables a year. Its farmers’ market sells more than C$2m (1m) worth of locally produced goods each year.