Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, will be participating in a live chat about the shortcomings of our food bank system today at 1PM ET on the Washington Post website.
The discussion is related to his opinion piece from yesterday's WaPo about the problems of food banks and our lack of attention to the underlying causes of poverty. He draws on his experiences in the Hartford food bank system to illustrate the waste inherent in the system and to suggest that we redirect some of our energies to trying to end poverty instead:
My experience of 25 years in food banking has led me to conclude that co-dependency within the system is multifaceted and frankly troubling. As a system that depends on donated goods, it must curry favor with the nation's food industry, which often regards food banks as a waste-management tool. As an operation that must sort through billions of pounds of damaged and partially salvageable food, it requires an army of volunteers who themselves are dependent on the carefully nurtured belief that they are "doing good" by "feeding the hungry." And as a charity that lives from one multimillion-dollar capital campaign to the next (most recently, the Hartford food bank raised $4.5 million), it must maintain a ready supply of well-heeled philanthropists and captains of industry to raise the dollars and public awareness necessary to make the next warehouse expansion possible.