The Southern Tier doesn’t have a “hunger problem”; it has a nutritional problem in dysfunctional households. This isn’t from a lack of food, this is the result of families failing their own children. Local incidents of malnutrition are practically zero. Poverty and poor nutritional choices positively correlate. The real medical emergency regarding nutrition is obesity and all of the health concerns stemming from that. The poorest among us are the most obese.
If children are going hungry, it is the breakdown of families not of governments. The illusion of hunger is a marketing tool that massages donor’s guilt to support the charities payrolls. Childhood obesity is on the rise, especially among the poor. In Broome County, more than 30,000 people receive SNAP benefits, (food stamps.) There is not a lack of food or its availability, but families incapable of managing adequate households.
With at least eight federal programs available, and nearly every community having a food bank, soup kitchens, church suppers, free lunches, replicated in hundreds of places throughout the area, it strains credulity to accept that anyone is going hungry due to a lack of community care or governmental policies.
Being poor in America
For the only large grocer on the North side of Binghamton, SNAP is the stores welfare program as one employee told me that approximately 70% of their income comes from some form of government food aid.
Some SNAP recipients offer “shopping” services, selling their benefits for 50 cents on the dollar in order to generate cash. By making the maximum use of all of the free sources of food, combined with their SNAP benefits, those gaming the system create a benefit surplus large enough to sell on the open market of the grocery store parking lot to anyone who pays in cash. This generates the funds that buys cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
Food banks and free meal giveaways make the donors think they are doing the Godly, righteous thing. Tossing a box of cereal or a few cans of vegetables into a CHOW barrel makes for easy, pain-free soul cleansing with the tiniest amount of effort.
Without means testing, (which no local food giveaway does,) no controls are in place in order to calculate the righteousness of those seeking the assistance. Those defrauding the system are using the good will of decent people that are unwittingly supporting their drug habits, addictions and other vices.
A SNAP program so liberalized as to accept almost anyone is an all-you-can-eat vote-getting machine. Attempting to regulate the kinds and qualities of foods recipients consume is of no interest to politicians that need them fat and happy enough to keep pulling the lever for politicians that keep the free stuff coming their way.
Knowingly inducing obesity and learned helplessness isn’t Godly it is evil. However, requiring proper nutritional balance and limiting choice to the most cost-effective brands would buy fewer votes and therefore is an idea without a prayer.