Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fed Gov't Taking Food From Needy

Fed Gov’t Taking Food From Needy
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 18, 2012

Last week the federal government once again overreacted, stretching its hand far beyond where it ought, punishing American citizens in need at a time when need is at its height since the Great Depression.

While the state of the economy continues slumping, and people are in dire need of food, the Obama administration is pulling the plug on federal aid to Community Provisions in Seymour in Southern Indiana’s Jackson County simply because the director, Paul Brock asks clients if they wish to pray with him.

Brock said he does not require anyone to pray with him in order to receive the food they need in such trying times. Yet, Brock indicated that many who arrive at the pantry do, in fact, pray with him simply because of the predicament in which they find themselves – unemployed, underemployed, homeless or simply unable to provide for their family this week and they believe in a higher power.

Because clientele are not required to pray with Brock or any other Community Provisions’ personnel, there is no violation of the national Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) that avers “no political, religious, or any other non-related activity can be conducted as a condition of, or in conjunction with, receiving commodities or prepared meals.”

This is an operation, the food pantry, attempting to do more with less, for more people who have less, and in a manner affording people a sense of respect. People can certainly use more prayer, but if they opt out, there is no denial of supplies or an effort to cajole those who do not wish to, or have time to pray with Brock.

Yet, in a child-like manner, the federal government is taking its food from Community Provisions to be distributed via three other agencies in Jackson County. However, the food could be returned to Community Provisions, the local operation working with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, the administrators of the federal program in the Hoosier State, should Brock cease from his prayer inquiries. Brock said he will continue to ask people if they wish to pray with him and good for him and those who will take comfort from the gesture of faith.

If the federal government took less from hard working Americans, they could get out of the state food pantry business and local Indianans, who will have more of their own money, could fund the food pantries in their own state.

The federal government, in its anti-religious bent has improperly interpreted the EFAP adding insult to an already injured group of struggling Americans simply attempting to provide for their family with a modicum of dignity.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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