As we all know, food banks are one of the main ways communities fight thirst. But lately, Minnesota food bank Matter started doing something special.
The food bank is teaming up with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office( encompassing Minneapolis) to help distribute food.
Policeman will maintain boxes with nutritious food in their autoes, and if they come across someone in need over the course of their patrol, they’ll be able to provide them with things like raisins, oatmeal, granola bars, and canned vegetables.
There are a lot of people in Minnesota who will benefit from this:
As an added bonus, the program will give the police a chance to develop a relationship with members of the community.
“There’s no doubt in my intellect that we will come across a number of those who are less fortunate, maybe even homeless. This will allow the deputies to build a little rapport, reach out to them,[ offer] a healthy alternative to what they might be doing.” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio
Some folks have pointed out that small-scale assistance won’t put an end to the bigger problems that cause hunger and poverty.
Recently one of my co-workers shared a tale of a restaurant owner who set a sign on her door offering a dinner to the person she knew was excavating through the junk at night looking for leftover food. While the narrative garnered many positive comments, we were astounded to see how many people( both on our post and on similar stories elsewhere on the Internet) commented saying that these case-by-case instances, whether it’s cops handing out granola bars or eatery owneds offering a free dinner, aren’t doing enough to solve those long-term problems.
It’s no secret that, for many homeless person, receiving food is a daily struggle.
What’s maybe not so obvious is that for many folks, even if they do manage to find food reliably, it can be as big a curse as it is a blessing .
One Tumblr user, who agreed to let me share his story here, responded to those criticisms and offered up some insight on what it’s like being homeless and hungry:
It reads( emphasis added ):
“When I was homeless, I was so constipated all the time[ a] combo of limited access to restrooms and living on one meal a day from the back entrance of the pizza place … but you can only live on stale pepperoni deep dish for so long before your intestines start to rebel. And that was when i was what, 19? 20? It’s gotta be so much worse for older people, and not everyone’s get such a nice eatery to mooch off of. Eating actual trash will f* ck your stomach up like whoa. You never know how painful gas can be until you eat something that was a little farther past the sell-by date than you thought it was, it turns your belly into a chemical refinery, and the nearest open public restroom is a mile away.”
“Handing out raisins and oatmeal seems, at first glance, like one of those officious ‘spend your food stamps on lettuce’ clusterf* cks that middle-class people are always perpetrating because they’ve never been in the shoes of the people they’re trying to ‘improve’. But actually, it’s a great idea, and this is gonna make a lot of people a little healthier in immediate, tangible styles. We’re not talking some vague probability-of-heart-disease-in-2 0-years stuff. We’re talking standing a little straighter and exhaling a little easier the very next day . ”
When it comes to solving problems as big as poverty and thirst, we can’t just focus on the big picture and we can’t only focus on the small-scale stuff. It’s merely through a combination of both approaches that we’ll ever find a way to attain things better.
In the meantime, I suppose the partnership between Matter and the Minneapolis-area sheriff is a fantastic and unique approach that has a lot of benefits for individuals AND for the community, and I hope we watch more cities using this as an example soon.
Read more: www.upworthy.com