Archive for Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thousands endure heat for free food

Just Food pantry handed out the latest shipment of food Monday at the distribution center, 1200 E. 11th St. Volunteer helpers Ryan Schroeder, left, and Driskell Johnson were unloading potatoes and watermelons to deliver to cars driving up for groceries.

Just Food pantry handed out the latest shipment of food Monday at the distribution center, 1200 E. 11th St. Volunteer helpers Ryan Schroeder, left, and Driskell Johnson were unloading potatoes and watermelons to deliver to cars driving up for groceries.

August 10, 2010


Food bank sees hundreds on hot day looking for food

Just Food delivered fresh produce to the hundreds of Douglas County residents who waited hours in the heat today. Enlarge video

Imagine waiting in 100-degree heat for several hours just to get something to eat.

That was the reality Monday morning as hundreds of Douglas County residents lined up to receive food donations from the Just Food mobile pantry.

Nearly 25,000 people depend on Douglas County food banks, and the monthly mobile pantry is doing its part to feed people in need.

“Harvesters (Community Food Network) out of Kansas City brings in about 14 pallets of perishable food items that we distribute out to local Douglas County consumers,” said Just Food interim coordinator Carolyn Ward.

Just Food, operated by the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corp., or ECKAN, has conducted the mobile pantry for the past six months.

“The first month or two were a little rocky trying to figure out the logistics of food distribution,” Ward said. “Last month we served 226 households in about two hours.”

Dozens of cars stretched around the block in both directions from the warehouse at 1200 E. 11th St. Many people began lining up at 7 a.m., then waited for several hours in brutal heat for the food to be unloaded and sorted. Volunteers said it’s a harsh reminder of how many people struggle with food security and the lengths they’re willing to go to feed their families.

“It gives you a visual sense of what the hunger problem is,” said Damien St. Julien, warehouse manager for Just Food. “Many people are willing to sit in line for the time being in the heat because of the desperation for food.”

The pantry serves hundreds of households every month with the help of community volunteers. Youths from First Southern Baptist Church in Lawrence spent what little summer vacation they have left to lend a helping hand. Many young volunteers were shocked to see the large number of people affected by hunger, but they said the satisfaction of helping out would bring them back next month.

“It makes me really sad,” said church volunteer Olivia Johnson, “but it’s totally worth it because the people that come are really grateful, and it’s really rewarding for them to be thanking us so much.”

The mobile food pantry takes place on the second Monday of every month. Only Douglas County residents qualify to receive a donation.

The pantry accepts food and cash donations. To donate money, visit For more information, contact Just Food at 856-7030.


flux 7 years, 2 months ago

And 20% of them are just abusing the system

barlowtl 7 years, 2 months ago

Must be hearty souls to stand out in that heat for so long just for food. Not much of a profit in that.

flux 7 years, 2 months ago

Not necessarily but I think Im close

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 2 months ago

Interesting, flux. What is your evidence for that assertion?

flux 7 years, 2 months ago

I have some lazy relatives that abuse the Christmas programs every year to get free presents for their kids and I know its not an original thought. Some people just feel entitled. I have relatives that have never had a job and have no plans on ever getting one

sassypants 7 years, 2 months ago

We must be related flux, I have the same lazy relatives that abuse programs while I bust my butt at work with nothing to show for it. With their food stamps and cash assistance for each in household, they make more then I do working.

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

If they make more than you do on public assistance, you should look for another job.

flux 7 years, 2 months ago

I didnt say that, you need to read my comment again. Are you serious or just cant read. My generalization was that it was 20% of the people

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 2 months ago

That's not what I'm saying at all, cheeseburger. I am just curious where the 20% figure came from. I assume it's based on research published in a peer-reviewed journal, rather than simply because flux has some lazy relatives and you heard a man trade baskets-for-booze that the number is automatically 20%.

As I say, I have no doubt that flux's figure is accurate and can be easily supported through empirical, well-documented research. My skepticism comes from having been told once that 95% of all statistics are fabricated.

Pete Kennamore 7 years, 2 months ago

Let's be generous and assume that the distribution of people that utilize this service and that also smoke is identical to the national average ( a generous assumption indeed). Then 20% of the folks waiting in the heat are smokers and by definition are abusing the system.

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Good point. I can totally feed a family a balanced meal on $3.00 a day. They'll get two servings from the baked potato group and one from the ramen group.

Also, we should just randomly not feed 80% of the hungry people in order to punish the arbitrary number we've invented as being the "lazy" ones willing to stand out in the hot sun for food.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

25,000 depend on food banks in Douglas County alone??? That seems like an incredibly high number.

Harvesters are a good organization. They do many wonderful things for hungry people. The Hall family out of KC deserves some recognition for their generous donations to Harvesters as well.

Bassetlover 7 years, 2 months ago

Agree with Practicality. That would mean 1 out of 4 individuals depend on food pantries. That seems like an incredibly inflated number. I'm glad our community has this great resource but if 25,000 use it, the shelves would be empty the majority of the time.

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Not necessarily. It may mean some people get a little food, or some people need some help now and again but not constantly. Many of the people standing in line this time around might otherwise be choosing between school supplies and food, for example. Or they end up with an unexpected car repair or some other expense they haven't budgeted for and they just need a little help to get them to the end of the month. They might also be from smaller surrounding cities that don't have food banks.

flux 7 years, 2 months ago

Why to go volunteers! I also think the 25,000 number is inflated a little

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't think it's inflated at all, but I also don't think that it means that 25,000 people depend on them for all or most of their food.

I think it means that 25,000 people in this county depend on them at least once a year, and some of them more often than that.

Most people in the lower 25% income bracket almost certainly encounter frequent financial crunches when they must choose between paying the electric bill or rent and buying food.

But that doesn't mean that it isn't used (sometimes abused) by people who would not go hungry without having access to a food pantry.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree. 25,000 people cannot actually depend on this. Also, there is not a form to fill out, or an income requirement. That makes it less of an entitlement in my book. A lot of wealthy people become wealthy by cutting costs in a lot of different areas. Private citizens and companies volunteer to do this and set the eligibility requirements of their own choice, and people use it to cut their grocery bill. Kind of like manufacturers coupons. Is everyone who cuts coupons out of the paper, participate in a sale, or fill out their rebate forms on purchases, a system abusing indigent?

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Some of it may have to do with the fact that it is the beginning of the school year and the increased costs that are associated with it.

emaw 7 years, 2 months ago

I would like to see a list of the cars being driven by the people in line waiting to receive aid.

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

People never lose jobs after purchasing cars, get rides, borrow cars, or pick up food for other people, silly!

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

If there really are 25,000 people who need this, then people need to really reconsider living in Lawrence. If there isn't an opportunity in this town to be or become self-sufficient, then perhaps moving to a locale that does offer that opportunity is in order.

David Roberts 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure where the 25K number came from, but if you think there is a good place to move from here you might need to watch this animated map showing unemployment across the US from 2007 to June 2010.

The best locations to live to escape this recession: ND, SD, NE, KS

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Looks like NE Kansas was pretty hard hit, but you're welcome to move to Hays or Great Bend and try your luck out there.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

If you don't have the money to afford groceries, how are you going to be able to afford to move?

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Just load all your stuff into the car and drive to California. That worked out well for the Joads, didn't it?

cward 7 years, 2 months ago

According to Feeding America - for 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a reality. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.

In 2008, 4.1 percent of all U.S. households (4.8 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times.

According to the USDA Household Food Security in the United States 2008 report, ten states exhibited statistically significant higher household food insecurity rates than the national average (12.2%): Kansas comes in at 13.8%.

Pete Kennamore 7 years, 2 months ago

How many cigarettes do you suppose were consumed by those waiting in line?

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 2 months ago

"How many cigarettes do you suppose were consumed by those waiting in line?"

You mean in their lifetimes? Or just while they were in line? I know at the food bank at the fairgrounds, they wait in line in one of the buildings. No smoking in the buildings, go outside to smoke and you'd lose your place in line, right? My answer to your question is probably very few, but this is a mobile food bank, and they drive up in their own cars.

Do you think the food supplemented their income enough to afford cigarettes when they otherwise would have had to make the choice of feeding a habit or a child? I wondered about that. Then I also wondered how many more people had shown up had they not been inflicted with hangovers? I also thought how this giveaway helps people make their electric bill, rather than have to choose between food or air conditioning.

"Thousands Endure Heat, Because They are too Proud to go to the Food Giveaway

Everyone should be taking advantage of these programs.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

It is not exactly as simple as you are trying to make it sound HaRD. The problem is that Harvesters, like many such programs, relies on donations from the public sector in order to provide this service.

I donate quite a bit of money to Harvesters both annually and everytime I go to Dillons. I do this because I believe in helping hungry people, and primarily, I have seen the good that the Back Pack Club offered by Harvesters does in schools. But, if it ever becomes too apparent that the program is being taken advantage of (and I do believe that there is some advantage taken already) that might make me decide to stop donating.

Therefore, if someone needs the help, go and get the food. If someone is trying to figure out how to pay for a cell phone or cable and have enought to eat, well . . . .thats a different story.

By the way, I grew up without air conditioning, cell phones, vidieo games, cable, computer access etc. etc. Those are not neccesities, except for air conditioning in certain circumstances.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Cell phones are now considered a necessity. A landline is not always the best option financially. Some prepaid are cheaper. It allows one access to emergency services.

It also helps one find a job. It is difficult to have an employer interested in hiring you if they have no way to contact you.

Computer access also helps with becoming employed. One can submit resumes and also have a way a potential employer to contact you. On top of that, one can take classes online in order to move up to a better job so one can get off assistance or just overall increases the odds of becoming employed.

I find it an odd standard that if you grew up without those things, then no one should have them. I know a person who grew up without indoor plumbing. Should we consider indoor plumbing to be a luxury under your standard? It certainly isn't an absolute necessity. One can exist without indoor plumbing.

I also find it odd that you would feel the need to deny small "luxuries" to those on public assistance such as the disabled. Are they just supposed to sit at home, staring at the walls, if they are homebound? They don't get a line to the a outside world? They should be isolated and have no social contact?

Maybe you would feel more comfortable if the government just allowed them a burlap bag to wear, gruel to eat and a bath once a week on Saturday night? Would it make you feel better if the poor did penance for being poor? Perhaps a good old fashioned shaming would be better? Anyone under a certain income letter could wear the scarlet "P". Children included, of course.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

I find it odd, that I, who donates thousands of dollars each year to Harvesters, gets questioned by you as to a statement I made concerning the necessity of some of the choices individuals make.

I find it odd, that you, who obviously feel that people are "entitled" to cell phones, air conditioning, computer access (library provides that, or is it just more comfortable from your own air conditioned home) and even indoor plumbing think that I, or others like me, are somehow responsible in providing that for others.

I find it odd that you would think that just because I didn't grow up with those things that I think no one should have them (I do have all of them now by the way) and not that I was using that as proof that it isn't a necessity.

I find it odd that you believe that I am against indoor plumbing (nice leap).

And mostly, I find it odd that you believe that being self-sufficent is somehow a negative thing and that individuals should be proud not be so.

Mike Hatch 7 years, 2 months ago

I find it odd that you don't get down off of that cross.

Someone could do something practical with the wood.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Thousands, huh? Let's see the proof. Please provide your tax returns so we can examine your charitable givings.

No one has said you are responsible for providing for others but I guess you can ride the martyr wagon if that makes you feel better.

I pointed out the necessity in having some of those items and how they can help get one off of assistance. You want people to be self reliable? Then don't deny them tools that help them become self-reliant.

If you don't believe that others should not have those things (luxuries that you didn't have growing up), why mention you didn't have them? It really serves no purpose other than to attempt to portray yourself as bootstrappy.

As for leaps, you win the prize on how far of one to take with your statement assigning me the belief that self-sufficiency is a negative thing or that individuals should not be proud if they are.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes Katara, hold your breath long enough and I will surely send you my tax returns. Maybe we should start this trust venture with you sending me yours first. How on earth do you think I knew what I knew about Harvesters? Back pack club, the Hall family, etc. etc. etc. Just so I can debate with you via the internet?

I do not deny anyone any tools to become self-reliant, and FYI, I could show you proof to that as well, if I was stupid enough to send you my charitable tax statements.

The question is, what is really a necessity and what isn't. Yes, having a cell phone and a computer probably do make one more viable in todays job market but there is also an EXPENSE associated with those products. And I will not comment on cable or Air Conditioning (except for the elderly).

I certainly do not want to see people go hungry. Which is why I donate. Can you say the same? I also realize that the good Harvesters does in the communities around Kansas far out weigh in abuse that occurs within it. If ever I feel differently, I might change my mind.

I mentioned that I didn't have those "necessities" growing up because I didn't. And I hardly believe that I am any worse off than if I had. Trust me Air conditioning was a big motivator for me in my early life.

Unfortunate circumstances happen to most people and hard times befall many. That is why I contribute where I do.

People are really not as fragile as you make them out to be, otherwise the human race would have died out long ago.

And even if this seems bad, some people need motivation to become self-reliant. And for the record, I am not saying this about anyone who happened to go and receive food the other day either. I am not going to lose any sleep if a few people got some food and left there and went in bought smokes.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

You can toss names out all you like, Practicality. Anyone who has worked or lived in KC is familiar with the Hall family and the work that they do. Harvesters has long been a familiar "face" in the area. There was a recent article in the LJW about the Back Pack club. This is not proof that you know what you are talking about and certainly not proof that you donate "thousands".

I am not even sure why you felt the need to tell everyone how much you donate unless you were wanting someone to tell you how awesome you are or just to justify to yourself about how superior you are to those that have less (because you certainly came off that way). Most of us who donate just don't feel the need to tell everyone. We just donate.

You put conditions on what you feel necessity is. I disagree with those conditions & I told you why. You can feel that a cell phone is not a necessity all you want but if that is your only source of contact, it is a necessity.

So small children are not worthy of air conditioning? The disabled and ill are not worthy? What makes the elderly so special that they are deserving of air conditioning (under the right circumstances, of course)?

It is funny that you claim not to deny people the tools to become self-reliant but label those tools as non-necessities. You set up a standard that people on assistance or receiving donations should not have anything but the basics. No "luxuries" for them at all even if some of the things that you labeled "luxuries" are not.

And whether or not you had them is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion altogether. Why even mention it? Things have changed quite a bit since you were a tyke.

I've not made people out to be fragile. I've pointed out why some things you label as "luxury" are not and that bad things happen. Another leap on your part.

And yes, some people need motivation but getting a couple of bags of groceries free is not going to prevent that motivation.

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

I didn't have air conditioning, a couch, or a color TV growing up. True story. They did have color TVs. We just didn't own one. But I did have access to a phone, a car, and a computer. A computer when it was unusual and noteworthy to have one.

As a child, I also ate reduced rate and sometimes free lunches and occasionally government cheese and honey.

Today, I have job skills I developed by working with computers as a child. I haven't needed food assistance as an adult, my kids do not get reduced rate lunches, and my tax wages and donations have paid for others to get food assistance.

Good thing nobody was around taking an inventory to decide what my family did or didn't need or tallying each purchase to decide if my parents were worthy of help or mooching off the system.

Are there moochers? Sure. But I'd rather pay for the moochers with Internet and cable than exclude the kids that will grow up to be computer programmers.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

Charity given with strings attached isn't charity. It's a salary.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 2 months ago

In another economy related item: “It's no coincidence that Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, announced her retirement the day before Friday's brutal unemployment report. With 131,000 more jobs lost in July, and downward revisions of 97,000 for the previous two months, it's easy to see why she would start looking for the exits. Romer is best known for drafting the February 2009 report "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan," which the White House used as an ammunition belt in the fight to gain passage of its $862 billion economic stimulus bill (the actual cost of which exceeds $1 trillion when interest is included). Romer predicted that following passage of the stimulus bill, unemployment would plateau below 8 percent last fall and by this month register at 7 percent. That's not close enough for government work, as unemployment stands at 9.5 percent today. It would be higher except that hundreds of thousands of frustrated job seekers have given up looking for new jobs and dropped out of the labor force. Predictably, the stimulus bill has proven to be an extraordinary waste of borrowed money that has failed to create jobs, generate economic growth or do much of anything other than line the pockets of White House political allies. That and give $308 million in subsidies to BP before the Gulf oil spill disaster, and subsidize a study on what happens when monkeys snort coke…” Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Shardwurm 7 years, 2 months ago

I totally believe the 25,000 number. It's probably higher.

They are the parents KU students who are forced into bread lines because they can't afford food and tuition.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 2 months ago

Feeding hungry people is good. Beneath the veneer, America has lots of hunger, medical need, social disintegration and one of the higher infant mortality rates in the 'civilized' world. Yes, people abuse all systems, but that should not be a reason to spend lots of time worrying about it at the expense of the truly needy. The christian skygod says:

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10 NSRV Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the Lord will help them when they are in trouble. Psalm 41:1 TEV If you refuse to listen to the cry of the poor, your own cry will not be heard. Proverbs 21:13 TEV ======== Most other religions promulgate similar sentiments. Settle down, folks; no one is stealing food from your table.

Adrienne Sanders 7 years, 2 months ago

The heat didn't reach 100 degrees 'til after noon... and it certainly wasn't "brutal" out at 7AM.

fan4kufootball 7 years, 2 months ago

There will always be abuse in any social program. I personally feel that communities helping family and neighbors is always better than state and federal "social programs" because the givers will have more knowledge about the receivers and it will weed out the abusers. Giving is always a good thing. You never know.... you may be on the receiving end someday.....

Graczyk 7 years, 2 months ago

There's abuse in capitalism, too. Should we stop that?

jamoca 7 years, 2 months ago

Hope and change your can believe in, Lawrence!

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

But Pywacket, being poor means you are fat, lazy, shiftless, morally corrupt, irresponsible and entitled. I mean, no one ever has an accident or suffers an illness that disables them permanently, is born disabled, ages, becomes widowed, has a sick child that requires 24/7 care, or a layoff due to a downturn in the economy.

Obviously it is all the poor's own fault for being poor. And they are very bad people for being that way.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh I think it far better that we constantly remind the poor how lucky they are for the pittance they receive. Perhaps a law could be passed requiring the anyone under a certain income be on their hands and knees at all times with mouths puckered so that they are ready 24/7 to grovel and kiss our rears.

It is the least they could do to thank us.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Hm, if that is the case, with all the tax breaks the uppers have received, how is that such a thing as unemployment even exists?

Why are all those jobs that were supposed to be created under the tax cuts?

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

The tax breaks have not been repealed yet. So where are the jobs all the tax breaks were supposed to have created?

You are disappointing me, Tom. The theory is that tax breaks for the wealthy are to create jobs. If the wealthy have more money in their pocket then they will invest it in their businesses and thereby create more jobs for everyone else to have.

Well, we have had these tax breaks for years now. Where are the jobs?

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, Tom. Obama is not the one to ask. Bush passed tax breaks for the wealthy with the justification that it would create jobs. Where are the jobs that were supposed to be created by the tax breaks? We've been waiting years now.

Mike Hatch 7 years, 2 months ago

You get my Julia Sugarbaker post of the day award. Right on.

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 2 months ago

@Pywacket: There should be a "like" button on this forum.

I really could not agree with you more.

Mixolydian 7 years, 2 months ago

What irony.

Today Obama signed Porkulus III, giving 26 billion as payback to his union supporters.

In order to "pay" for all this, the bill cut food stamp funding.

oldvet 7 years, 2 months ago

teachers, police officers, and other public servants

more government jobs that do nothing to grow the economy... this economy is going nowhere fast and there is no growth in the private sector to sustain the run-away spending by obama...

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

You mean all those jobs are tax exempt? That no one employed in those professions own homes and pay property taxes? They don't buy groceries and pay sales tax?

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes. Teachers do not pay taxes, buy groceries, or educate future generations of taxpayers. They exist solely to shrink the economy.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

People usually will apply for and receive food stamps if they have been laid off (perhaps their company outsourced their job) if they have a family to feed.

Perhaps if the rich chose to spend their money in the United States rather than in another country, we'd see fewer people on food stamps.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Outsourcing was happening well before your personal demons took office.

I doubt they will move the whole corporation out of the US. Instead they will just throw a massive temper tantrum - very similar to the one you did when you said you were leaving the forum.

That worked out well, didn't it?

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

I didn't pay that much attention to you before so I doubt I'd miss you if you were gone.

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes. Offshore tax shelters are so much more worthy of pay than teachers and firefighters.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

So what is the exchange rate on the street for watermelons to weed nowadays?

Most are aware that the complainers are not about wanting to help the truly needy. They are too busy focusing on what others might be getting that they are not. Who knew generic mac n' cheese was such a hot commodity among the wealthy set?

amesn 7 years, 2 months ago

If this comment thread were twitter I would like to retweet all of Katara's posts. Thank you!

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the compliment! I think Pywacket's were much better though :)

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

Sigh, Katara, again you seem to miss the point entirely. I will try and dumb it down for you.

People donate to this organization because they believe they are helping hungry people who might be down on their luck.

This donated money then allows for the organization to provide the free services that help people.

If the people who donate start to believe that their money is being taken advantage of by people who aren't really in need. . . . . they might stop donating.

If that happens, there will not be any more services offered and people will suffer more.

Now, before you respond with some idiotic statement, it really doesn't matter if you think that isn't the case. It matters if the people who donate think that is true. Which I do not want that to happen nor do I want that to be true.

As I said before, I believe in what Harvesters is doing, which is why I donate to them. I want them to continue to do what they are doing. I believe they truly help people who need help (for the most part). I do not do it to prove any point to you or anyone else. I do it because I believe it is the right thing to do.

Your comments on this subject, and to me, have been largely ignorant and scream entitlement. Your comments also could be taken as offensive to the very people whose donations are mandatory to continue providing such a wide variety of services to so many people. And no, I wasn't referring to my paltry sum as having such influence, but others. who feed a great many people every week.

Even though you believe you are being a champion of the poor here, you quite literally could be doing them more harm than good. So maybe you should just stop running your mouth and, the next time you are in Dillions, grab one of the little donation coupons for Harvesters and add it to your bill. That would do much more than what you are doing on here.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Exactly. Punish those in need because someone somewhere may have gotten something and I don't consider that person deserving enough. They may have .... gasp.... air conditioning!

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

It is amazing that you are not aware that one can donate something other than money. Perhaps that is why you have such difficulty understanding what I am trying to explain to you.

People can donate actual food. They can donate clothing. They can donate personal hygiene items. They can donate household goods. They can also donate their time. All of those are far more valuable to the charities than the "thousands" you donate. You know why? Because those actions save the charities money and allows them to utilize what monetary donations they receive in a more efficient way. All the time volunteered means less people needing to be paid for things such as mailing out fliers, passing out donated food (like what the volunteers did with this food distribution), filing, etc.

I can get far more bang for my "buck" by paying attention to sales and by combining those sales with coupons. Most nonprofit workers don't have the time to go out to get the best deals to purchase the supplies they need because they are busy with running the nonprofit and assisting those in need. Perhaps you should take a gander at the coupon blogs to see how much gets donated from people "like me".

It isn't just your donated money that makes this work and your ignorance is what shows when you have the gall to assume that only people who donate dollars are the ones that truly care. The ones who truly care understand that it takes more than just writing a check to help the needy.

And if you are curious as to what you can do besides fill out a check, Harvesters is more than happy to tell you what they need done.

Here is the volunteer form for you to fill out. Since you wholeheartedly believe in Harvesters and would never be running your mouth, I know you will be wanting to get started on some of these volunteer opportunities ASAP. It has to be merely just a lack of awareness on your part that you have not done so before.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Since you are such the expert, can you tell us what the street exchange rate is in boxes of mac n' cheese for heroin?

Not one person here has said that abuse of a system is good or that fraud should be acceptable or that you should like it. What has been questioned is the amount that occurs. Why don't you provide the statistics for the amount of abuse that occurs in food distribution programs?

You know, since so many drug dealers accept bags of potatoes instead of money.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Sure, because we all know that empathy = entitlement.

Both you and Practicality are examples of a loss of sense of reasonableness and reality. Neither of you can provide anything to show anyone that abuse is constantly occurring. Someone threw out a 20% figure but no one can back it up. Remember we're talking food distribution programs such as this giveaway and food pantries.

It simply is not profitable. You do realize that people waited hours in the heat for maybe $15-20 worth of groceries. That is not a good scam. You aren't coming out ahead or even breaking even. And drug dealers don't accept SunnyD as payment for crack.

All you can do is jabber on about how some may have something you consider a luxury and they don't deserve the little assistance that has been offered here. Or someone's sister's cousin's 3rd brother has never worked in his life and he got free groceries and you work hard and no one ever gives you anything and why can't the world be just as bootstrappy as you because you'll never fall on hard times or suffer any temporary loss of income.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh, okay. You are the one who is telling us all that people who abuse the food distribution system by exchanging groceries for dope & booze but you can't back that up. Instead you want to imply that I am a drug user because I challenged your assertion.

Again, no one has said abuse is good or that you have to like it. What has been questioned is how much abuse has occurred (if any) in the food distribution system. You can't provide any info for this and you expect us to believe that people are exchanging groceries for drugs.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

I call shenanigans.

One cannot return grocery items to a grocery store without a receipt for a cash refund. If you have no receipt, store credit is given. You are more than free to call up the Lawrence grocery stores to check that policy out.

You also made this claim: "I'm surprised the bleeding hearts here aren't taking up the cause of the people who really need the help and don't get it because someone who doesn't need the help or is exchanging the groceries for dope is ahead of them in line. "

which is a different claim than your overheard story of a person telling stories out of school.

So if abuse in the food distribution systems is happening, you should be able to quantify it for us. How are you supposed to solve this if you have no idea how much abuse occurs? Or why it occurs for that matter?

So do you have any other proof that abuse is occurring (no matter the percentage) other than some schmuck that has figured out you are pretty gullible? How about any mother's sister's 3rd cousins twice removed relatives you could tell about?

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Of course, items selected from a basket (assuming it is a gift basket) are not returnable as individual items for cash or store credit. Additionally, many grocery store customer service workers are familiar with this type of scam and the regulars that attempt it. This is one of the reasons that many places limit the returns one can make.

Otherwise you are basing this on one guy bragging about how "clever" he is.

Did you actually see him do it successfully? Did you alert the charitable organizations that provided this man the baskets so that they could prevent him from getting donations again?

What about the others you claim are exchanging groceries for dope?

geekyhost 7 years, 2 months ago

Concern trolling isn't exactly doing them or the services any favors either, bub.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm more than a bit surprised that no one so far has equated this with the bread and soup lines of the Depression. I would.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

The people in the pictures are the volunteers. If your observational skills fail you with looking at the pictures, there is always the print in the captions that identify who those are in the pictures.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Why would it? It is a great thing that they are out in the heat helping others. Why should I care what type of apparel they wear or which god they worship?

ivalueamerica 7 years, 2 months ago

Probably one of the stupidest posts of the day.

First of all, to qualify, they must be at least 125% of the national Federal poverty level. That means many of them do work, but are under-employed. Further, with unemployment the way it is, finding a job that will sustain you has become more difficult.

So, you do not know if the people in the photo are volunteers or receivers, you do not know if they work or not, and you can not tell from a photo if someone has a disability or not..

but none of that stops you from saying things as though you know.

The biggest disabled person at hand is you, you are a broken person.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 2 months ago

I work with children who live on the streets of Peru, I think I can say without a doubt that I do indeed help those in need on a daily basis and considering I am paid a Peruvian wage, I supplement my living on my savings and I go out of pocket quite often to help those who are poor, but trying to pull themselves up. I also still find a bit of money to donate to people doing the same in Lawrence.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago


Now that you are aware of other ways to donate, I expect you to fill out the form and get at it. Again, that would be of greater service to people than running your mouth on the internet. And, yes, I was aware of the other ways to donate, and they are all equally important. But, other than the donation of time, all the other things you mentioned cost money. And, FYI, I did donate time too, last year, in both KC and Topeka.


Giving money, or anything, for that matter is a sacrifice. One is not so inclined to make that sacrifice if they believe it is being taken advantage of. I do not believe that took place in the article that prompted these discussions but others might and no one is required to donate anything. It is an unfortunate reality that perception is important concerning donations. Sometimes that perception is valid, often it is not. If Katara gets on the internet and tries to tell the people who donate their time, money, equipment, etc. etc. that they haven't any right to question the way in which there donation is given, they might just choose to not donate anymore. I do not want that to happen and, in my opinion, will harm people, especially kids, from receiving food.

Both of you might believe that is an arrogant stance. I believe it is a realistic assessment of human nature. It is not a crime to be poor, it is also not a crime to elect not to be generous.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

As you assume that there are people scamming the food distribution system, you assume that I donate nothing.

Yay for you for donating! Some of us don't need to announce it to the world to get that pat on the back you obviously so dearly need. Talk about running your mouth...

And, this bit of info might surprise you, but once you have given something to someone, you don't get to dictate how it is used. That is what makes it a donation. Donations are gifts and gifts don't come with strings attached. They are no longer gifts if they do.

As for perception, it is people like you and cheeseburger and the others all asserting abuse in the food distributions system (all the while lacking any proof to show that it occurs) that is giving others poor perceptions of the programs and potentially derailing donations. Your unsubstantiated claims perpetuate this perception that there are people abusing the food distribution system and do nothing to encourage donation of time, money or anything else.

If there is abuse occurring in the food distribution system, surely you can come up with figures to back up your claims. Is it 0.0001%? 1%? 10%? More?

Doesn't it make more sense to identify the problem and find a solution to any abuse rather than give up donating and hurting those who do need the assistance? You don't seem to be willing to do that. Why?

You can always choose not to donate. That's fine but the expectation that anyone who receives assistance that may be a result of your donation should kiss your butt or meet your arbitrary standards of necessity is not fine.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

You just don't make any sense Katara.

Why on earth would I donate to this organization if I thought there was widespread "scamming" going on? One of the benefits of Harvesters is that it donates food. Not money. The way in which they do it does not require a lot of bureaucratic red tape to distribute food to people. Because they do it that way, people are able to just show up and get food, like in the article, which, in my opinion, is a good thing. But also, because of the lack of bureaucratic red tape, it also allows for someone to take advantage of the system if they so chose.

I do not know for certain if there is "scamming" going on or at what percentage that it is. I believe it is possible for there to be some. I am ok with that, because, like I said earlier, I believe the good outweighs the bad. But, if what I thought was that restaurant owners were in someway getting all their potatoes from Harvesters and then charging others to eat them, I would have a problem with that and stop donating. That is just an example and I do not believe that takes place.

I haven't any reason not to believe cheeseburger's claim that he overheard what he overheard. It seems completely plausible to me that it happened. I do not think that is in the majority, but I can easily see how that happens. People have been trading food stamps for money for a long time, and then they started trading food for money. I have been approached at Checkers by a person offering to go and get what I want from the store and I pay them half the dollar value for the food. Even though I didn't take him up on it, I am sure others have.

I am not trying to come up with any figure, nor do I care to. If I believe that the figure is too much, then I will just stop donating. Simple as that. As of right now, I don't believe there is a wide spread problem, so no solution is necessary.

I do not donate for anyone to kiss my "butt". I do it because I believe it is the right thing to do. Other than my immediate family, I do not tell anyone that I do. I told you because you were attacking me as an uncharitable person, which I found insulting since I do donate. In essence, you attacked a person who helps sponsor the program so many benefit from. Which is why I said you are doing a disservice to Harvesters, because if you will do it to me, I am sure you will do it to others as well and I would hate to see them stop donating because you offended them. Another human nature attribute, I am afraid, is that people are not going to sacrifice for others if that very sacrifice is utilized by others to offend or insult them.

If you donate, good for you. Now spend some time understanding how the world works as well and you will be much more effective at promoting your social causes.

standuporget 7 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow! Wait 24 hours and a slow starting thread really takes off! I understand both sides of this argument. I should clarify that when I said everyone should be taking advantage of these programs, I did not intend for "advantage" to be confused with "abuse". Perhaps a better word would have been "utilize". I think that most people are in "need" in one sense or another. Who among us would not benefit by saving a few bucks? This is exactly what these programs allow people to do.

These organizations do not exactly pay the same for the goods that they donate as they would by walking into Dillon's and buying the groceries retail. They don't even pay wholesale. I expect, (cannot prove) that it makes sense that these organizations receive the goods they donate from aging, overstocked, and undeliverable merchandise. Without organizers, much of this food would expire and go to waste. Monetary donations, (again this is speculation) are largely used to pay the rents and mortgages on storage facilities, refrigeration and other equipment, and maintenance of those investments. The actual food that goes out is probably in some part, donated to the organizations by businesses who need to shift the products off of their shelves to make room for new product. Those businesses receive a write-off for the goods that they donate, and pads their loss same as any donation.

I live in East Lawrence in a modest home that I paid for. I had a mortgage, but I made difficult sacrifices to pay it off quickly. Both of my late model vehicles are dependable and they are paid for. I pay the balance on my credit cards every month. Everything I have is mine. I quit smoking the day Obama was elected. I do not collect entitlements that are paid for with tax dollars. My wife and I both go to school full time, and we work 60 hours a week between ourselves at low paying but flexible jobs. I do take Pell Grants, but no interest bearing financial aid. Since I live within my means, and I pay everyone I owe, I find that it is pretty difficult to save money if I do not utilize certain private programs such as the food giveaway. I am not falling on my butt poor, but I don't have a lot of extra and from time to time this food giveaway prevents me and my family from becoming slave to any lender. The only debt I carry is to the people who donate their money, goods and services to a few programs such as this one. Would my family starve if I didn't? Probably not, but I would flirt with portions of unpaid bills, carried balances, mounting debt and zero discretionary income. My family would then file into a vicious circle that would eventually make us a burden on taxpayer entitlements.

Do the people who donate to these programs believe that people like me are abusing their goodwill? Do they believe that I am not self sufficient because I use these opportunities to keep myself out of the public welfare system?

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for clarifying you use of the word "advantage". I think you are correct with the word "utilize" being a better choice.

You are correct on how Harvesters (and many of the other food distribution programs) works. Money goes to overhead, not to purchase food. These organizations mainly rely on food donations and not so much on purchasing the food items themselves. The food items are usually getting close to the end of their shelf life but are still good. For example, the pastries and baked goods in one of the pictures are most likely the "day old" goods. Nothing wrong with them just past the time they can be sold as fresh.

Food distribution programs also rely on food donations from individuals. This is where I can help the most. I don't have thousands to donate so I make the most out of the money I have to donate. I use coupons and pay attention to sales and stock up on items. I buy what I need for my family and all the extra goes to donations. Many times I pay less than what the programs would if they had someone available to do full time shopping.

Unfortunately, under Practicality's standards, you would be considered abusing the goodwill of those who donate their money, time & services. You have computer access. You most likely have air conditioning. That alone does not make you needy enough by the standards that he listed.

Ideally, I'd like the food to go to those who have no other resources but I'm certainly not going to begrudge someone a few bags of groceries if that helps them get by. I would also suggest stopping on the coupon blogs to get info as to how to stretch your grocery budget further so that you don't need the distribution programs to get you through when money is tighter than expected.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 2 months ago

That was an unexpected response, Katara. I clip coupons. I keep a small garden, and do a little bit of home canning, and a lot of freezing. I have been to this food drive twice- maybe 4 months ago and the following month. I have been to the one at the fairgrounds once. Hardly taking advantage. That assistance was greatly appreciated by my family and I. We knew that the electric bill was going to be higher during the summer. We saved the money that would have otherwise been spent on food in anticipation of those higher electric bills.

I also donate about 4 bags of clothes per year to the goodwill. We are not exactly fashion minded people, our older child clothes are handed down to the younger child, and the clothes we donate still retain some quality. Should I be offended if I see a guy in a nicer part of town mowing his lawn on a better lawnmower than mine, wearing one of my old shirts? Ideally, I wanted that shirt to go to someone who couldn't afford to go buy it from Old Navy. In the past, I have donated my time to many causes without any stipulation other than at the end of it all, I felt good about plugging in to something that helped someone other than myself.

Trying not to be judgmental, but if a person lives in a home that actually belongs to a bank, are they not welfare recipients? If a person drives a car that is financed through a bank, are they not welfare recipients? If a person wears designer clothes that are still collecting interest on a credit card, are they not welfare recipients? Or what about the person who paid cash for their electric car? Before they paid, the government used tax dollars to subsidize that sale to make the price tag more competitive. In all of these examples, tax dollars, (bailouts) were used to keep their creditors solvent or to create buyer incentive were they not? Even from a big, beautiful house in a gated neighborhood with a Prius, a Landrover, a Ski Natique, and a timeshare on Lake Tahoe, You don't have to be fat, lazy, and unemployed to be collecting entitlements. It takes three fingers pointed back at you to point your finger at someone. Everyone is entitled to a little goodwill from their fellow man. It would be chaos otherwise.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't disagree with what you are saying. You make good points.

Obviously you take measures to be financially responsible but as you can see by the responses here, that simply is not enough for some.

For the utility bills, I would suggest the "average pay" plans. This way it is a set amount each month and you don't have to worry so much about getting hit with a large bill during peak usage. It is adjusted yearly according to usage.

I don't think that your examples by themselves qualify as welfare. When you toss in the tax breaks and credits, then I think they could be considered a form of welfare for the individual. Corporate welfare is a whole 'nother subject that should be looked at as well. If one is concerned about abuse on the individual level to the point where it could prevent one from donating, one would be horrified about corporate welfare abuse.

As for your question about whether or not you should be offended if your donation does not go to your ideal recipient... I am not when my donations do that (assuming that I would know who actually received what I donated). Yes, I'd prefer my donations to go to those who have no other backups or resources - no where else to turn so to speak - but I am not going to stress over it if it goes to someone else who may be in a overall better position. I gave my gift. The recipient gets to decide how to use it.

I don't know if I would use Goodwill as an example though. It sells your donations and the proceeds from the sales go to various charities under the Goodwill banner. It seems to me it would be more beneficial to have more people shopping there overall regardless of their financial means because of their charitable system.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago


If you need the food, go and get it, if you do not, don't. It is as simple as that and that is the beauty of an organization such as Harvesters. Katara doesn't speak for me (she can hardly speak for herself) and you do not need her to patronize you with her advice.

I would caution you not to try and justify your actions by what others do though, you will sleep better at night that way. :)

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

Again, you tell us on one side of your mouth that you don't believe that scamming is widespread but on the other side you tell us that the potential is very real and that potential scares people away from donating.

I say that by going on and on about this potential scamming (utilizing the examples you give) scares away potential donors. Stories such as the cheeseburger told and the one you told about your food stamp abuser (which is an entirely different system than what we are discussing here) make people believe there are all these lazy, shiftless, good-for-nothing people out there just lurking to take advantage of fine upstanding citizens as yourself.

You promote the perception that there is widespread abuse. You talk about the ways people can potentially abuse the system. Do you believe that encourages people to donate? How do you think that affects peoples' perception of the programs?

You made it clear you have conditions as to how you will donate. That is not charitable giving. You made it clear that people who have things that you personally feel are luxuries are not deserving of the assistance, that they are not truly needy. How is that helping peoples' perceptions of the food distribution system? Do you think portraying some as not as needy (under your personal definition) really makes people want to donate more?

You sure have done a lot of tooting your own horn here about your personal donations. You may believe it is the right thing to do but you sure are needing recognition for it. And you make it clear that your donations are coming from your benevolence - that it is a sacrifice. Perhaps I was mistaken & it was a guilt trip you were trying to achieve rather than a rear end smooch.

Your first comment after commending Harvesters for their good work was to suggest that people should move to from their homes here to find jobs. That doesn't sound very charitable. That sounds very much a case of victim blaming. Your next comment after that was to tell others of your conditions of giving (after telling people that you donate quite a bit of money to Harvesters) along with what you consider luxuries and how you grew up without them. That doesn't sound very charitable either.

You want to cry personal attack but turn around and do the very same thing to me. After I pointed out how cell phones and computers can be considered necessities nowadays and question your standard for what is considered a necessity, you attempt to trump me by claiming you donate "thousands". Of course, implying that I don't donate anything and therefore am entitled and assigning me positions that I have not once taken. The dig that I am too stupid to understand benevolent and charitable minds such as yours really adds to your complaint of personal attacks.

You go on and keep patting yourself on the back and bask in your smugness. That never turns people off from donating. Not at all.

beatrice 7 years, 2 months ago

I do see why this story brings out responses, and I can see two sides. Most people want to help those in need, but nobody likes feeling like they are being taken advantage of. Both sides are reasonable.

However, I believe the way the story is written has a lot to do with how people respond. It opens with "Imagine waiting in 100-degree heat for several hours just to get something to eat."

Imagine? Is this a commentary, or a news story? Who wrote this, John Lennon? It is written in a way that seems to either beg for empathy for the poor and sweaty folks in need, or it elicits a big "so what! Imagine handing out free food in 100-degree heat! Imagine having to work for your own food, sometimes outside in 100-degree heat! Are they so ungrateful for the free food that they are complaining about the heat?"

If the "journalist" had just written "Food was distributed under high temperatures ..." the reaction, I believe, would be different, at least the negative comments wouldn't be as harsh.

Glad people get food if they need it, thanks a great deal to those who distribute the food, and shame on any who take advantage.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago

Bea, I agree with your post.


Again, your arrogance and narcissism totally amaze me. Are you sure you do not have a personality disorder? You have effectively made up your own statements that you believe I made in order to support your ignorant viewpoint.

I will try to make it a little easier to understand.

First, my comment about people moving was not intended to be crass. It was a statement in doubt of the 25000 people in Douglas County that are in need of food. If that many people are indeed short of food for any length of time in Douglas County, then perhaps a new locale will offer them more opportunity. There just isn’t that many people here to have such a high number, in my opinion and if it really is that bad, I doubt it will ever get better enough to make a difference for 25000 people. Other posters pointed out that it could be just a one time deal. That made sense to me. But, yes, indeed I did initially doubt the 25000 number.

Second, I never made any conditions on my donations. In my opinion, people are less inclined to donate for things that they view as non-essential. Most people view food as an essential, and as such, are inclined to donate for such. That is why I think Harvesters is such a wonderful organization. I speak for myself in terms of not growing up with video games, cell phone, air conditioning, computer, etc. as a personal example of why I do not think those are “necessities”. In my opinion, food is a necessity. One can’t live without food, one can certainly live without those other things as my life is living testament to that.

Certainly having a cell phone and computer access makes one more viable in the modern world. But that is not the purpose of Harvesters nor was it the subject matter in the article. We were discussing food. If you believe that those things are a necessity, then, by all means, dedicate your life to providing cell phones, air conditioning, computers, and video games to the underprivileged around the globe. I choose to focus on more pressing matters like food. You could make the job viability argument from everything from cars, designer clothes, Rolex watches, Country Club memberships, and Fendi Handbags. All of those products, if utilized correctly, could help someone get a job. I just don’t think you will have many people or corporations willingly donate to those things you claim to be necessities.

And yes, donations are a sacrifice. I am not required to do it and could just as easily take the money and go on a vacation to Europe. I am not tooting my own horn, I am doing what I believe to be helpful. When talking to you, I sometimes question as to why I bother, but then I remember seeing how glad and excited the kids in the back pack club get when they receive a back pack full of food on Friday. And that is why I do it.

Practicality 7 years, 2 months ago


And yes, you did personally attack me as well as call me a liar. Like I needed to justify or prove to you my donations. I have repeatedly stated that I support Harvesters, with both money and time. Do you really believe that I would do that if I was against what it is doing?
I have some experience with charitable people, and in my opinion, they don’t want things sugarcoated, and neither do I. Tell them what it is you are wanting to do, tell them who you are trying to help, tell them why you are doing it in that manner, tell them how there donation will help achieve the objective. Don’t tell people that there won’t be any way for someone to take advantage of a situation and then have them find out someone did. That is the surest way for someone to stop donating. Not any ill-perceived smugness someone might believe a donor has.

Now, the right thing for you to do is to apologize for any harm that you might have caused Harvesters by your idiotic, ill-conceived statements, and no, I am not talking about whether I donate or not, but by others who donate and might read your statements and believe everyone is just an ingrate and then decide to stop donating. But I really doubt you have the maturity or sincerity or social conscience or social responsibility to pull it off.

Katara 7 years, 2 months ago

An apology to you or to Harvesters, concern troll, is not warranted.

You can insult me all you want. It does not change what you have posted here. You clearly put conditions on who and what you feel is deserving of donations. Others pointed out the same to you.

You are the one who brought up how much you donate. No one asked you. You made the point of telling all that you donate "quite a bit of money" to Harvesters and even went so far to qualify that it was "thousands" as if that somehow lends your words more credibility or legitimacy. That falls under tooting your own horn.

You still harp on how much you do for Harvesters and imply that if one disagrees with you, then that person must not do anything at all. How do you think that affects donation rates? How do you think telling others who make donations but disagree with you as to the method or the manner that they have idiotic, ill-conceived statements or that they are too stupid to understand affects donations? You want to talk about perception and its affect on donations, well you aren't adding to a positive perception here and you have made it clear that you help sponsor Harvesters. How do you think your statements in association with Harvesters affect others who may want to donate?

With this last post of yours, you've managed to make yourself out quite the martyr. Golf clap for you. The hyperbole you've spouted is beyond compare, I might add. You should offer your services to the political scene. It certainly is something you display great talent for.

As scopi_guy posted, you should get off your cross because someone could do something practical with the wood. Or would that just be too big of a sacrifice for you to make?

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

What a bunch of crap. Anyone who is donating won't be paying any mind to the rantings of internet bloggers. People who needed food got it. Leave it at that.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Py and Katara You guys are too funny when you get wound up. Of course there is abuse going on, I see it in spades every single day. But I agree it is better to let ten lazy people get food than to deny one truly hungry person. I will not bad mouth this. Especially when I think about the economy and the end of the Bush tax cuts coming.
You think the ecomomy is bad now? We may all be in that bread line by this time next yr. Obama is riding us right on down. Just finishing the job Bush started.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Of course a lot of these folks smoke. Socio-economic demographics tell you that.
So that opens up the thought that a lot of these folks could probably buy food if it weren't for the most regressive tax of all, loved by the Demacrats. Cigarette taxes, yeah, let's take the money from the poor and their adiction.
See we could go back and forth all day with silly stretches like this.

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