Recently, I observed a charitable food distribution in Central Florida. A Cadillac Escalade (yes, the classic story you hear of the welfare queen) drove up to receive food. Admittedly, I went into stereotype mode, thinking, “Why is this lady taking food?” I felt immediate anger. This is exactly what many people are talking about.
A site volunteer went to the car window and the driver explained, “I brought Agnes, a member of my church, because I’ve driven by before and observed what you do. Agnes is elderly, her husband is disabled and they don’t have a car and need food.”
We can be in such a rush to judge others — we simply don’t take time to even consider what’s really happening. With today’s polarizing news debates, we’ve created a culture of alienation. It’s toxic.
It’s commonly debated — whether charitable food distribution is enabling people versus not judging those in need and providing them with food. It’s polarizing and shouldn’t happen. I encourage Central Floridians to consider the word “enabling” in a different way. For example, are we enabling senior citizens when we feed them and free up money to buy much-needed medication? Are we enabling children who are in circumstances beyond their control? Are we enabling full-time workers who can barely pay the rent? Are we enabling the unemployed from the recent economic downturn, folks who can’t find a job even close to what they had before?
You bet we are … we’re enabling them to be more productive, vibrant members of our community.
Is there abuse in the system? Of course, but let’s put it in perspective: You don’t have to look far in other sectors to find plenty of abuse at much higher levels. Do we want to let the small minority of folks who are not doing the right thing influence our actions or focus on helping the remaining 95 percent? Do you really think people like standing in the hot sun for an hour or more for one bag of food?
This Escalade story illustrates exactly how ending hunger is possible. When enough people in Escalades (or any vehicle) decide to help others get what they need, it becomes possible. There is a magic number of engaged people, and when it’s reached — no one will need to go hungry.
Let’s flatten the tires of the stereotypical Escalade welfare queen once and for all.
Source: Orlando Sentinel