After hosting two internal planning meetings and circulating emails (pdf) in which Grand Junction Community Development personnel warned the City faces a “really big surge” and “exponential growth” in the number of homeless people, and that the number of homeless kids in School District 51 is “staggering,” City Manager Greg Caton suddenly pulled the plug on a planned third meeting about homelessness, without any explanation why.
This left advocates for the homeless greatly concerned.
San Francisco has successfully addressed the problem of excessive food waste from restaurants and grocery stores — of the same type that we are still seeing here in Grand Junction, specifically with City Market’s tremendous waste of food daily from its hot delis.
A nonprofit organization called Food Runners collects extra hot food from markets and restaurants left over at closing time, and brings it to local foster homes, food pantries and homeless shelters where it feeds hungry people and is greatly appreciated. It’s simple, and there is no liability for the providers of the food.
A June 27, 2016 article on this site discussed how Mesa County turns away almost half of eligible applicants who go to the local Department of Human Services to apply for food stamps. This unused assistance leaves millions of dollars on the table that not only could help more needy county residents buy food for their families, but that would also boost the local economy by pumping millions more dollars of revenue into local grocery stores.
Some of City Market’s hot deli items that get put in the trash at the end of each day (Photo credit: YouTube City Market Deli promotional video)
“I’ll give you six pieces of chicken for the price of four,” sighed an unnamed City Market deli clerk to a customer one evening around 8:30 p.m. “It’s all going in the trash in a few minutes, anyway,” the employee lamented.
All that food in the trash? What?
Yes, all of it. Every bit. Every day. In the trash.
Yes, isn’t that just so wonderful of him to consider what the little ladies would prefer to wear in the woods?
In the mean time, more Mesa County residents than ever are living in poverty, falling into homelessness and freezing in the cold, working at low-paying jobs, more District 51 kids than ever are going hungry and more of our citizens are committing suicide.
Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, but lots of Mesa County kids suffer from food insecurity year ’round.
Many people think Halloween means handing out candy, candy and more candy. But desperate attempts by local dental offices to reduce the harm candy poses by buying back Halloween sweets by the pound, combined with sharp increases in childhood obesity, diabetes and dangerous nut allergies are all making many people re-think the Halloween candy-fest, and rightly so.
There ARE many items people can hand out on Halloween that are healthier, safer, more useful and even more fun for kids, and that cost about the same as candy.
It Turns Out Kids Love Alternatives
For several years at our house, we did an experiment. We offered trick-or-treaters two different bowls of goodies to choose from. One contained “good” candy, like Hershey bars and Snickers, and the other contained small, party favor-like toys like rubber spiders, Mardi Gras-style necklaces, glow sticks, toy trucks, etc. It turned out the kids took the toys over the candy by about a 3 to 1 ratio. The party items cost about as much as candy, too. You can find them in the party sections of big box stores like Wal Mart, K-Mart and Target, and there are lots of similar fun little items at dollar stores around the valley. Several kids in our family have diabetes, and one has a severe peanut allergy, so knowing the dangers candy can pose to some kids, we decided to stay on the safe side this year and just offer toys instead. The kids seem to love it.