Thursday, December 17, 2015

About those canned food drives

In this skeptical and critical video about canned food drives, from Adam Ruins Everything and Upworthy, a food bank administrator offers a good balanced summary of the main point:
Canned food drives don't suck, [but] they're not the most efficient way to give.
To allow food banks and food pantries to serve food that is fresh, healthy, and desirable, consider giving cash instead.

Want to help feed the poor? Ditch the canned goods and donate money. Adam Ruins Everything outlines why. (via truTV)
Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the very best food drives don't want your crappy food -- they want your crappy money!

Just like legendary television evangelist Jim Bakker's PTL Club. The Rev. Jim didn't waste time and resources soliciting donations of canned goods or lightly used clothing. That useless crap wasn't going to help him help others. No, send in your cash and gold jewelry. Ah, now that's the stuff! Bakker's foundation, Heritage USA, was well on its way to resolving all the world's problems, and would have if the Feds hadn't so unceremoniously come crashing through the gold leafed doors.

Besides, canned food is inefficient. Who ever heard of safely stashing staggering values of canned goods in offshore accounts? This is the 21xt Century, for goodness sake, and we are so much more sophisticated in the administration of these charity things. Like HSUS, who deals exclusively in cash and negotiable securities to rescue animals. That's why they squirreled away $26 million in Central American and Caribbean financial institutions. A little rainy day money until they finally get all the animals rescued.

This is why the trendier food drives must get with the new program. The old way of accepting food donations and distributing those directly to hungry people through food pantries obviously has not eradicated hunger. That has been the wrong approach. Program administrators have been underpaid in that antiquated model and, so, cannot be effective. If we are to attract and motivate the best and brightest administrative operators, like Jim Bakker of PTL Club or Wayne Pacelle of HSUS, we simply must up the cash.

Look, this is a food drive we're running here, so keep your stupid non-perishable food and hand over the loot. We will know precisely what to do with it. Trust us.

usfoodpolicy said...

Hi Anonymous:

The Humane Watch link you sent reminds us to use the Charity Navigator site to check on the transparency and financial accounting of charities before we send cash. Here are three findings you may find interesting:

1. Feeding America, the umbrella organization for food banks, gets 4 stars, the top ranking. Most member food banks also get 4 stars.

2. The Humane Society of the United States gets 4 stars for accountability and transparency, and 3 stars in other areas. The link you sent is mistaken.

3. And the secretive industry-funded Humane Watch organization you seem to trust? Charity Navigator -- the very same charity evaluator that Humane Watch itself cites -- gives the parent organization no stars and a "Donor Advisory":

During our analysis of this charity’s FY 2011 Form 990, the document revealed that the majority of the Center for Consumer Freedom's functional expenses were paid to its CEO Richard Berman's for-profit management company, Berman and Company. The document revealed that, out of total expenses of $2.12 million, $1.29 million were paid to Berman and Company for "staff[ing] and operat[ing] the day-to-day activities" of the charity. See relevant pages from the organization's 2011 Form 990 filing via PDF files 2011 Page 8, 2011 Page 10, 2011 Page 2, 2011 Schedule L and 2011 Schedule O for more information.

Anonymous, if you don't want to give cash to food banks, then don't. But you should be embarrassed about the poor quality of information you provide in your comment today.

Have a nice holiday.