by arupa freeman
The Home Van Food Pantry is doing a very large business as things continue to go badly, both in terms of the economy and the access to food in the downtown area. The Salvation Army has stopped serving dinner except on Fridays and is planning to drop meal services all together at the end of the year. There are also people coming down from Dignity Village to receive food, since the kitchen at Grace is not yet operational. Although we are a food pantry for homeless people, some elderly people who have (thank God) a roof over their heads but not much else, are also coming to receive food. We do not discriminate. Some people would like to be going to Grace for meals but they’ve lost their bus pass (as you may recall, the city gave out permanent bus passes to homeless people earlier this year). They have been told that bus passes can’t be replaced. It is hard to keep track of one’s belongings living of the streets (it’s hard enough living inside, as I’ve discovered), and one’s belongings are much more likely to be stolen if you’re homeless. There is also the photo ID problem. If you lose your photo ID you cannot get service at a food pantry or many other places. That is bureaucratic cruelty. Under the Patriot Act photo IDs are very hard to get and even harder to replace. Is our society really going to let people starve because they don’t have the right pieces of paper? Sounds to me like something out of Germany in the early 30s. My Jewish friends often say that we must never forget history, particularly that history, because, among other things, it teaches the lesson that good people can be lulled, one step at a time, into unspeakable evil.