This letter is in response to Ms. Cotherman's Sunday, Feb. 4, column may be summarized: “With so many food pantries in Casper maybe we are helping poor people become too dependent on food. Maybe we should restrict the supply.”
Cotherman discussed this issue with other food pantry volunteers.
She didn’t talk to me. I started Poverty Resistance 32 years ago. It’s not like my name has never appeared in the paper.
Had Ms. Cotherman talked to me she would have learned It's an ugly part of American culture, our throw away culture, and it's costing us time, money and our environment.
A study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, bases its data on 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. The numbers are eye-popping: 31% to 40% of our food is thrown away after it's harvested. For each person that's more than 1,200 calories per person per day.
Poverty Resistance is part of a huge national network with Feeding America the umbrella agency. Wyoming Foodbank of the Rockies is sort of the middle man in the grocery rescue network and food pantries such as Poverty Resistance directly distribute food to low income folks.
Poverty Resistance gave away almost 500,000 pounds of food in 2017. Salvage value is $815,000.
Well meaning folks, such as Ms. Cotherman, do not understand the issues revolving around grocery rescue and food salvage efforts. To take the steps suggested in her column would restrict access to food in the guise of helping the poor become more independent.
My personal goal is to increase the food supply to our low income folks. Many low wage working folks have trouble making ends meet while working full time. Why not help them out with some free food? Especially when that same food may end up being wasted if not for our efforts?