Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We're Still Tossing This Idea Around

A few years ago, a friend of ours was struggling financially due to health issues. To help her out, we bought food and toiletries for her a few times a month. To supplement what we purchased for her, she'd visit the food bank once a week. That year, for the holiday season, the food bank provided turkeys and ham. Right around this time, she expressed her frustration with a handful of people who were taking advantage of the free holiday fare. These people worked, or had income, and they had more than enough to do a weekly grocery shopping. However, because the turkeys and hams were free, they opted to stand in line for the handout.

When I heard of this, I was furious.

The following year, the food bank didn't offer turkeys and hams for the holidays. They didn't have the funds. This seemed to be the case for a lot of food banks, both local and not local. The shelves at food banks were empty. Soup kitchens were closing because they no longer had the funding to offer free meals. Even pet food pantries were pleading for donations because their supply had diminished.

This breaks my heart. And, again, makes me furious.

I understand there are people who are genuinely in need. They've fallen on hard times. Maybe their hours were cut at work or they were laid off. Or, maybe they're battling an illness. No one is immune to financial struggles.

In the past, we've been there too. 

During these hard times, people aren't able to purchase food, dog treats, pet food, etc. They need to rely on food banks and pet pantries and the kindness and generosity of family, friends, and neighbors. There is nothing wrong with that. We all need a helping hand every now and than.

What I have a problem with, and what makes my blood boil, are those who take advantage of this. By that, I simply mean people who take these items, whether it's food, hot meals, or pet food, not out of necessity, but because they're free.

Why pay for a holiday ham when you can head down to the local food pantry and get one for free? And, to boot, the pantry has a "no questions asked" policy.  Why pay for dog treats and pet food when it's offered for free, no questions asked?

One of the things we've really wanted to do is offer free dog treats and pet food to those who have fallen on hard times. We've been doing this all along, as needed and out of pocket, but we really want to expand on this, do more, and focus on our immediate, local community.

This is all part of our Bodacious Biscuit Love Evolution. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can fill yourself in here, here, and here

We're still tossing the idea around and how we should go about doing this. My concern is that people will take advantage of this as they have with food banks, soup kitchens, and pet food pantries.

In the past almost-3-years since the launch of Bodacious Biscuit Love, we've become an easy target for some. We've been stiffed on more than one occasion. I'm actually slightly ashamed at how many times that has happened. We've also had biscuits stolen from our previous displays. And, more sadly, people have taken advantage of our generosity many, many times.

The non-sugar coated version of that is if we're donating biscuits to you because you're "struggling financially," but you're going out to a nice restaurant for date night every week, buying tickets for baseball games and concerts, or you can afford a weekend getaway, well...

I. Have. A. Big. Huge. Problem. With. That. 

I don't like being taken advantage of. I don't like our generosity taken for granted. However, it happens.

So, this idea is on the table. And something will come out of it. Just not sure what yet.

We'll keep you posted.

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