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The Dirty Secret behind Food Banks

I am all for helping the poor and providing services to those who are hungry and need food.  But, what happens when these well meaning programs lack oversight or regulation? Well, the food doesn’t end up getting into the hands of the families who need it.  Based on 5 of the last 6 of my clients, the food ends up in the back of my dump truck!

I have uncovered a glitch in the food bank process.   I am certain I am not the only one who is aware of the problem.  I am uncertain if the groups who run the food banks are aware of the problem. If they took a look inside the homes of the folks who are getting the boxes of food, they may reconsider the process.

Picture a kitchen full of canned goods. I mean EVERY cabinet, the pantry, floor space, counter space, refrigerator space FULL of food. Then picture food on the stairs going into the basement and food stored in the garage.  It is a lot of food! Our trucks are pretty big, 12 feet long x 8 feet wide x 5 feet high and we end up filling it with excess food.   It would take years for one person to eat the amount of food taken from these homes.  I got to thinking, this is ridiculous, we are loading up a 2 ton truck full of food, to go back to the food bank?!  A little ironic.

Unfortunately, when cleaning out these homes, the cans of food and boxes of cereal and bags of pasta are often contaminated.  The perishable goods have usually been left out to rot on top of the non perishable food. You have rotten fruit, moldy leftovers, and sometimes maggots on top of the non-perishable goods. You also have sticky, bulging, expired canned goods that just need to be disposed.  What a waste.

One client in a senior low income housing development told me he tried to tell the group to stop delivering the food but they haven’t yet.  As a result his entire kitchen is full of food he will never eat!

One client only liked the green beans and corn, yet the boxes of food delivered included a whole host of other food. So then you have about 2 years of accumulated applesauce, carrots, lima bean, evaporated milk, ect… taking up space.

One client said she grew up very poor and often went without food. So she had a habit of storing excess.  As a result her food went bad and when it did, she did not  dispose of it. We were 80% sure there was a dead animal in her house because of the smell. Nope, it was rotten food. The gnats covered items in her kitchen like a black blanket.

I believe in food banks and I think there are families who benefit and need the food.  But based on what I have witnessed, a portion of the food is ending up in the wrong kitchens and not helping the ones who really need to eat.  A problem that needs a solution.