Food banks and food pantries can be life-saving resources for people with insecure housing or meal situations. And one Tweeter recently created a thread explaining how food banks work — and in particular, why people don’t really scam them for free food.
Twitter user @AsToldByKaki addressed a question she says she gets often as the employee of a Texas food bank: do people lie so they can get food when they don’t need it?
Her answer was “no” — but she went on the further explain how for some food banks, it doesn’t really matter whether people lie or not to get food.
She told Bored Panda that she’s “seen people line up at food pantries as early as 4 am. I’ve seen people borrow their neighbors’ car to come pick up food for their families. I’ve seen people come on bikes, motorcycles, and on foot to carry what they can. Nobody does that for fun. It’s free food, I don’t even see how it can be abused.”
“Do some people ‘need it more than others?’ Sure, but at the end of the day, everybody deserves to eat. Some people get all of their food from pantries, and some supplement what they’ve bought from the grocery store with food pantry food. Both are perfectly fine,” she added.
Kaki said the actual problem is that not enough people take advantage of this system. People don’t need to be homeless, jobless, or even in extreme poverty to be eligible for food assistance — at least at her food bank.
“There are just so many misconceptions about food banks, food pantries, and receiving assistance,” explained Kaki. “I’ve worked in social services capacities for a long time, both as a volunteer and an employee, and I’ve heard so many stories from people in all kinds of situations. What I’ve learned is everyone’s life is so complex, nuanced, with ups and downs and unique stories. We simply can not judge or place stigma on people who are just trying to get by, especially when it comes to something as essential as food.”
In response to comments on the thread, Kaki summed up her philosophy: “We’re talking about generational trauma and poverty, medical issues, family crises…you never know. And it doesn’t matter. Let people eat.”
Featured Image: Twitter