Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If I were number 131.....

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The City of Gainesville, Florida has recently imposed a 130-meals-a-day limit to area soup kitchens. St. Francis House is one soup kitchen who has enacted this limit. The commissioners of Gainesville could immediately rescind this limit. St. Francis House and other area service agencies would not need to be involved at all.

At a recent City Hall meeting, an 8 year-old girl named Mackenzie Case said, "It makes me sad that we have hungry people we aren't allowed to feed." She also held a hand-written sign that said, "If I was No. 131 you wouldn't feed me?"

The pleas of this courageous little girl speaks volumes. She has the dignity and reason that is somehow lost among the commissioners. We need to let the City of Gainesville know just how outrageous and inhumane this limit is.

In these uncertain financial times, we are all one paycheck away from being homeless. This is not rhetoric, it is a scary fact. Food is incredibly expensive. If a family is forced to pay even more money out of pocket to feed their family, they become even closer to losing their home and other necessities. This is why soup kitchens and food pantries are critical assets to each city. Enacting a limit may lead to less of a financial strain on the city for the short term, but having to provide services to many more homeless individuals and families in the long term will certainly cost much more. Preventing the problem is ALWAYS less expensive than attempting to manage it.

Soup kitchens exist to help meet the basic needs of all of us. We are ALL deserving of a hot meal. Without food, a person cannot possibly thrive. The cycle of poverty will no doubt continue. Each city needs to work to meet these basic needs to ensure that each person can get one step closer to moving out of this dangerous cycle.

Please join us in demanding the city of Gainesville to overturn this limit! It is up to the city - not up to each soup kitchen. Help us prevent another family from going hungry.

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