Food co-op (more sad than angry)...feedback requested.
Greetings All --
I recently had the opportunity to visit a very large local church to see how their food co-op works. It is an (almost) free program that distributes food to needy families every two weeks. Space is limited, one must qualify for enrollment in it, pay $3 for each co-op day one attends and receives food, and the food includes a rarity among food pantries: generous$ quantitie$ of preciou$ protein items including whole chickens, fish, beef (ground and roasts), ham, pork chops, etc. They also distribute canned goods (veggies, beans), and packaged items.
I was appalled, though, to see no fresh produce whatsoever and further distressed when I saw the sheer quantity of refined sugars and wheat being doled out. In fact, the lion's share of the food being distributed was large packages of candies, cake, brownie, biscuit mixes, breakfast cereals, macaroni, rice, and a load of other refined crap. The clients walked away with their baskets overladen with boxes and packages and bags of refined non-foods.
I suspect any family that consumes all of their food items over the particular two week period will, one and all, have serious insulin issues.
The church works hard and proactively to help meet the needs of those in poverty and their intentions are clearly sterling. But, oh, the harm they're doing, perpetuating a fierce insulin resistance among a population comprising, almost exclusively, those who are already suffering from metabolic syndrome as well as struggling with making healthy food choices/purchases for their family on a nearly non-existent budget. The church members simply cannot be aware of the dangerous, even deadly, effects of their "Christian generosity and compassion."
For a few months now, admiring the compassion behind the church's various outreach programs, I've been considering joining. Now, however, seeing the food co-op program, I'm trying to figure out how to, first, diplomatically, gracefully and inoffensively help them modify it so they are distributing those foods that are most likely to enhance, not destroy, their clients' health and well-being. Although I personally think it would be appropriate and wise to eliminate the refined crap-foods entirely from the distribution program, I do not think that suggestion would work. But I would like to see them achieve a far better, healthier balance that will help their co-op clients receive foods that do not actually harm them but nourish them instead.
It is a delicate situation but, seeing clients leave with baskets full of refined carbs and wheat, makes me so terribly sad and I feel that, now that I know the health risks associated with refined carbs, remaining silent on this matter would be nothing more than a self-serving moral compromise. I am just unsure how to approach those who make the decisions for the food co-op program with my concerns, and further, how to help them get those more nutritious foods for their clients.
I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or thoughts on this.