Archive for Sunday, February 5, 2006

Free meal with a message

Food Not Banks alters its name to match anticapitalist views

February 5, 2006


An old group with a new name is doing its part to help feed Lawrence.

Members of Food Not Banks are serving meals twice a week at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets, outside US Bank.

The group is a renamed version of the Food Not Bombs chapters that sprung up around the country in the 1980s.

"For the people in this town," Jordan Ferrand-Sapsis said, "it's less about the name and more about the services we provide."

But the name change has attracted attention.

Keith McHenry, who co-founded Food Not Bombs in Massachusetts in the 1980s, said except for the rare, typically temporary exception, it was the first time he heard of a Food Not Bombs group altering its name.

"Usually, a group will change names because it's an anti-bank protest for a week or something," he said. "It's surprising to hear that they've kept it for so long."

Lawrence residents Kim Coughlin and Wesley Teal, members of the group Food Not Banks, hang a banner and prepare a table of free food Wednesday evening at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets outside the US Bank building. The group provides a free meal to anyone in need.

Lawrence residents Kim Coughlin and Wesley Teal, members of the group Food Not Banks, hang a banner and prepare a table of free food Wednesday evening at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets outside the US Bank building. The group provides a free meal to anyone in need.

The group is only peripherally connected to the Lawrence Food Not Bombs group that used to serve in South Park in the late 1990s, when McHenry was here working with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.

That group disbanded soon after he left. Then, in February 2004, the Lawrence branch of the Industrial Workers of the World union and Kansas Mutual Aid members began a new chapter - changing the name to reflect its anticapitalist stance.

Eight people showed up early Wednesday night for the meal, but the group is about more than free food. Members also take stands for animal rights, and against nuclear power and war.

"It's kind of a twice-weekly protest," Ferrand-Sapsis said.

And for some of the group's volunteers, it's an opportunity not only to help hungry residents or protest banks, but also a time to share a meal with others.

Today, volunteer and Kansas University student Marta Buechler said, people often rush through their days, eat fast food and rarely break bread with others.

At their bi-weekly feedings, anyone who wants food can get a free hot dish, sit on a concrete planter or a lawn chair and chat with others from the community.

"Sitting down and eating a meal is so important," Buechler said.


mr_sassy_pantsss 12 years, 3 months ago

This group should merge with NORML. Then both groups can share two common links while breaking bread together- hunger and naive stupidity.

mcoan 12 years, 3 months ago

mr_sassy_pantss would prefer folks go hungry. That's mighty Christian of him!

Personally, I don't care WHAT the group's name or philosophy is...if they are giving a few folks a decent meal once a day, it's a good thing.

As for being against "banks." Hmmm. Not sure I would want to live in a world without banks. A world without CENTRAL banks/planned economies, or the WORLD bank maybe. But without private commercial banks, we'd have a lot fewer houses, cars (might be a good thing), student loans, business loans, etc. Now THAT doesn't sound like much fun. In fact, without banks, unemployment, and thus human suffering, would increase fairly dramatically. And Food Not Banks would find itself serving a lot more meals.

Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

These people have been in town for YEARS. Why are they just now being noticed by the paper?

And their philosophy always sounds like those hippies on that episode of South Park, "Yeah man, like we could have one person who's job it is to make bread, and another person to protect people. And everyone could just live together" ... It's called a town.

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

Yes, a SP classic - "Die Hippie Die".

Lawrence's hippies: seeking solutions not from practicality but ideology.

Kelly Powell 12 years, 3 months ago

Give a person a fish and they eat for the day....give a drifter scumbag a vision card and they buy pop and nachos...............Look nobodyreally wants to see people go hungry, it is an allmost instinctive behaivor to share food.....But people here in lawrence(townies) have seen a huge increase of people using lawrence as a rest stop or flop house and not even go through the pretense of trying... And they are sick of it. At the job I work at I probably give out 10% of my pay a week to help cover people when they are short on a purchase or need to eat....But I allso will ban someone from the store if they abuse this or try to get over on me.... the thing that chaps my ass is that I have offered to pay bums hanging out in front panhandling money to do a couple of simple chores(sweep up some trash in the parking lot change out the trashcans) that would only take about a half hour.....And not one of them accepted! I then ran them off the property. What I would like to see that would just maybe change my attitude about places like the drop in center or this food group thing is if they would actually orginize the "unfortunates" and at the very least have them try to look like they are trying.....Corn needs to be detassled every year, and I bet they could get someone to pay them to clean some stretch of highway....hell i would hire a couple to help me get my commercial garden ready for the spring(they would of course be blindfolded on the way there...because I do not trust them as far as I could spit a weasel)

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

HOLY DOUGHNUT BATMAN! the first Google ad comes up: "weight watchers!" mwhahahahahahahaha

IWW, boy that's a real going concern...pond scum, anarchists, antiwar protesters, NORMAL, "Honk for Hemp," all the same people here, different names..."the sierra club" hOw much overlap? <I say: FREE POT FOR THE HOMELESS! PROVIDE THAT!

and, name changed a year ago...really slow news day?!?

no banks is simply stupid. been some form of banking in civilization for thousands of years!

wonder what's in that meat free food they give out anyway?

finally, just what we need, more frreeee feedings for the bums and bumettes...thank you.

Pulga 12 years, 3 months ago

1) just because other people have stop trying, it doesn't mean they have failed, and just because people are trying now, doesn't mean that their goal is to feed everyone forever.

2)Food No Banks is a direct oppossision to capitalism.Capitalism where money has become more important than people. Sure Banks that give loans, and help folks get houses, and cars seem nice, but how many folks have been working a horrible mimimum wage job, and although they work their hearts out, when the pay check comes all they can do is pay rent, or bills, or morgages. There are folks who don't have money to buy food with at the end of the day. I know I've been there. So where is the kindness of the banks then? I am not saying that bankers are evil, or unhuman, but greed is a big thing in a bank. A good option to baks are credit unions. A credit union is a not-for-profit co-operative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members, through the election of a volunteer Board of Directors elected from the membership itself.

3) The reason it was changed from Bomb to Banks is because we are trying to protest something closer to the root of the problem. Yes we want food not war, but why is there war? Greed. Money. Yes this might seem like a crazy hippie ideal, but it is alot deeper than that. And Food Not Banks is not a solution to world humger, or even to the unfeed in lawrence. It is a meal for anyone ( rich, poor, homeless, and homebound) to enjoy.

4) The food that goes into it is usually from the community organic garden on vermont, and donations from the farmers market. Yes, there is no meat in any of our meals, but I garantee they are delicous. Coffee, oreos, tomato soup, soda, juices, most types of pasta, cakes, and pies, and all other sorts of things are vegeterian and vegan. No meat doesn't mean that the food was made in a lab somewhere with unknown chemicals. If you want to know what went into the meal of the day, come down and ask us. 9th and Mass, wednesdays and saturdays 6 to 7 pm.

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