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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

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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 justfoodfund.org. For more information, contact Just Food at 856-7030.

Comments

TopJayhawk 3 years, 8 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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TopJayhawk 3 years, 8 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.

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Amy Heeter 3 years, 8 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.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

con't

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.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

Bea, I agree with your post.

Katara,

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.

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beatrice 3 years, 8 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.

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Katara 3 years, 8 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.

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HaRDNoK9 3 years, 8 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?

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standuporget 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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thuja 3 years, 8 months ago

If I was in charge of this event, I would have found some shady place and had it there instead of a parking lot in 100 degree weather.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

Katara,

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.

Jesse,

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.

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 8 months ago

Looks like to me if they are able to carry 30 lbs of groceries, then they are able bodied enough to work. There is not one of them in the picture that looks like they are not able to be out working instead of mooching. Help those who actually need help, not those who have studied how to beat the system.

Your attempts to help are wonderful, you just need to adjust your focus.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 8 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.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 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.

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amesn 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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cheeseburger 3 years, 8 months ago

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. It's not about not wanting to help the truly needy; it's about wanting to weed out the abusers for the benefit of those in real need.

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Mixolydian 3 years, 8 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.

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Mari Aubuchon 3 years, 8 months ago

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

I really could not agree with you more.

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Pywacket 3 years, 8 months ago

What really cracks me up are all the armchair snoops who are so worried, just because there happens to be an article about food distribution today, about someone who "doesn't deserve it" getting a damned watermelon or box of cereal.

But because there is no article with photos of fat cats lounging beside their pools to make you take note of all the welfare going to corporate farm conglomerates, military supply industries, banking concerns, and the like--the amounts of which utterly eclipse all "individual or family" welfare (including food distribution drives) by a long shot--you blithely ignore that the rich are bleeding us dry. You seem perfectly happy to be ignorant of rampant compensation excess, golden parachutes, payment for letting acres go fallow, and all the other angles by which greedy, already wealthy operators screw ALL of us over. It's more fun to pick on the poor or "not quite poor enough."

Maybe you should be a little more concerned about these numbers than about the "20%" who are greedy, undeserving scamps for getting away with a bag of groceries in Dg Co today:

http://www.corporations.org/welfare/ http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate_subsidy/reference_material.cfm http://www.ctj.org/html/corpwelf.htm http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/feature/33555/op_ed%3A-pentagon-budget-is-corporate-welfare-fund.html http://www.organicconsumers.org/ofgu/subsidies.htm

We keep their mansions running smoothly and their yachts afloat with our taxes. Isn't that heartwarming? And, like sheep, we pay increasingly high prices for their shoddy products and save our criticism for..... someone carrying home a few packages of macaroni, a loaf of bread, and some peaches?

Do keep jeering individuals who stand in line in a heatwave (excuse me, Dulcinea thinks it was refreshingly cool this morning, so standing in line was probably a bonus) for a few bags of free groceries. Oh--and special venom for any of them who are driving a car that's short of 20 years old and has working AC, or who happen to have a nicotine addiction (maybe acquired in their youth, when the US government-subsidized tobacco firms could legally LIE about how "harmless" cigarettes were). They are SO much more deserving of your scorn than the heads of Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, RJ Reynolds, Chevron, DuPont, Citicorp, et al.

Unbelievable.

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jamoca 3 years, 8 months ago

Hope and change your can believe in, Lawrence!

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 8 months ago

Is this Bush's fault? I know that someday Obama will make it so that nobody has to stand in the sun to get food. Thank goodness that the hungry people are skinny. The heat won't hurt them as much.

Does anyone know if there is any pot roasts left? I need some arugula too. Is there any available?

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Graczyk 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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Ray Parker 3 years, 8 months ago

Another 2 years under the Mombasa Marxistand his redistribution of wealth (to the feds), and the whole nation may be turned into a shantytown. Welcome to Obamaville.

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fan4kufootball 3 years, 8 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.....

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Adrienne Sanders 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 8 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.

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bobberboy 3 years, 8 months ago

but it beats workin' for a livin' !!

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Shardwurm 3 years, 8 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.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 8 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: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/Time-to-admit-Obamanomics-has-failed-1008050-100154469.html#ixzz0wEPhIz4a

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Elrond 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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cward 3 years, 8 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%.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 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.

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emaw 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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flux 3 years, 8 months ago

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

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cheeseburger 3 years, 8 months ago

Kudos to the volunteers!

Ryan - great shirt! Wayne is the man!

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Bassetlover 3 years, 8 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.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 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.

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flux 3 years, 8 months ago

Not necessarily but I think Im close

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jackbinkelman 3 years, 8 months ago

Well! Just because You, say it it must be true!

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flux 3 years, 8 months ago

And 20% of them are just abusing the system

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