The Myth of a faith-based social safety net

The Episcopal Cafe addresses the question whether churches and other non-profits can fill the gap caused by budget cuts: The Myth of a faith-based social safety net. It points to a piece by Mark Silk. Here’s the study by Chaves and Wineburg to which both the Episcopal Cafe and Mark Silk refer: Chaves_Wineburg_FaithBasedInitiative&Congregations.

I point this out because I attended an event this morning organized by the Roundy’s Foundation, at which Roundy’s distributed food and money to a number of food pantries and other agencies. Grace’s pantry was one of the recipients. In the course of the program, Chris Brockel of Community Action Coalition cited the increasing numbers of families in Dane County seeking food assistance in the last several years. In fact, the statistics are shaking–a 50% increase in number of families and total number of individuals, seeking food assistance, and a 50% increase in numbers of prepared meals served between 2007 and 2010. Given the level of proposed budget cuts, both on the state and federal level, one can only imagine what the numbers will be like in a couple of years, and the decreased ability of social service agencies to respond to the need. We get much of our food either from the Community Action Coalition (at no cost) or Second Harvest (where we pay only $.18/lb). Of the former, a great deal comes through federal programs.

Here are a couple of photos from the event:


Thanks to Roundy’s for their generous donation of food (over 2000 lb) and a check for $500 intended to go for the purchase of perishables.