Food policy, or How We Starve Children for Politics!

Lately there have been articles appearing on my various feeds talking about government should consider creating some type of penalty for grocery stores that throw away food.  Items that clearly could be utilized by some organization for the betterment of some unspecified group.  It’s a stupid notion given that people are more likely to donate when they are offered an incentive for participating.  Government going the route of punishment first rather than consider that there are businesses that would be quite happy to write off something rather than just destroy it.

A long time ago I took a food safety course because the bookstore I was running had a cafe.  The county required me to do it.  2 days of me sleeping at the desk while I learned how to maintain the proper temperature of grilled chicken.  We didn’t serve that kind of food, but someone was paying me to be there so what the hell!  All these local regulations about how long a brownie could sit in a refrigerator before it had to be thrown away.  Little stickers on the backs of plates so as to remind people when they were added to the display case.

Hit the date, in the garbage it went.  Add it to a log and later I would spend time over a spreadsheet trying to determine why no one wanted to buy White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.  But the food had to be walked straight to the dumpster.  Do not stop at Go, do not under any circumstances allow the college kid who might not eat dinner tonight to hide something in their backpack.  The company considers it retail theft and they will fire you on the spot!

Annapolis Maryland has some redeeming features, among them being the capital of this particular state.  Looking for crabcakes, well not in town but 15 miles away.  It’s where I would send anyone looking!  But there is a community of homeless people who live in a town called Parole.  Ironically named after a prison camp that was located there during the Civil War [for those outside of the U.S. think 1860’s].  If you work in the area, you see them every day coming out of the woods at dawn, hoping to figure out how they are going to survive the day.  One used to come into the store and buy a drink and sit in the corner reading a book most nights when it was cold.  We never knew his name, didn’t want to embarrass him in any way.  Very polite, always cleaned up his spot.  And some nights we would sneak a few things in his bag or just offer them up.  To hell with the food log, human decency overrode that.

I never had one of the kids do this, I always did it myself.  I could afford to take the hit if someone asked.  But it was such a waste of food.

Kids who are forced to stand in line, trying to get a decent meal being told by some person they don’t have enough money in their account to pay.  The food ripped from their hands in some cases and thrown away.  The solution, give the kid a cheese sandwich.  Meanwhile you just wasted the very food they could have eaten.  Punishing a child for the faults of an adult world.  How many 2nd graders know to check their account balance?  There are adults who don;t check their account balances at the bank!

Food isn’t a limited resource.  We have plenty of it, just not getting in the hands of people who need it.  That $1 lunch for a child could help prevent some disease that costs thousands of dollars to fix.  We have rounding errors in budget lines that could pay for an entire year for every child in the country.  Buy 10 less fighter jets, big loss to national security?  No!

The government is so concerned that someone might do the wrong thing with a government issued debit card, they forget the policies they set up penalize families for withdrawing certain dollar values.  They insist they know better while being driven to the office, afraid to deal with the public.  When was the last time you heard of a politician actually driving themselves to work?

This topic pisses me off.  I could write a thesis on the subject because the solutions are so simple, yet government feels the need to get involved to the point where they make things so much worse.  Look, I don’t have all the answers but I do know that if we don’t find a solution that works people die.  Not being dramatic, but this is a basic necessity,  Why we can’t ensure it’s priority really does anger me.

Off my soapbox I jump!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dear Leader.”


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