Friday, November 06, 2009

Feed the poor or play politics?

I like to play a game with myself when I am confronted by strange behavior. I put myself in their place for some role playing. In this case, I assume the role of a pastor asking for donations to his food bank. My role is to feed the homeless in a depressed economy. I need food. I ask myself, under what conditions would I turn down an offer of free food? I can’t think of any because food is food.  It feeds people. My mission is to feed people. I would accept a gift of food from anyone.

For the cynics out there, I actually go through this proces. It’s a mental exercise I go through when I do not understand the motives of the people involved in an illogical situation. It helps me understand if their motives are authentic. In this case, the motives failed.

Chris Solberg, director of Loaves and Fishes, a Christian charity in beautiful Shasta County, declined an offer of free food.

"The Lord impressed on me to tell him thanks, but no thanks," he said, adding that he does not regret that decision. "I feel good about the decision. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders."

I thought this statement odd sense this is what they say on their website:

Redding Loaves and Fishes is supported by area grocers, philanthropic community service clubs, church charities and generous and charitable individuals. We are a coalition of local food banks, food assistance providers,and community members. Due to the high number of persons in poverty needing food assistance charities in the Redding and Shasta County area, the program's food bank supply is often exhausted before the end of each month, when need is the highest. Sometimes the food bank program calls on other food banks and charities in Redding and Shasta County for emergency supplies, and visa versa. We gladly accept canned fruits, vegetables and meats, "meal in a can " items such as chili, ravioli, stews, and chunky soups; staples such as peanut butter, jams, jellies and tuna; packaged goods such as pastas and potato and rice dishes, as well as cereal.

I don’t see anything about judging the source of the donation. Yet they did.

he finally realized, once he got off the phone with him, that they were medical marijuana shops.

He said he does not support them and their proliferation.

"They are all over," Solberg said, calling them a "pestilence" and "travesty" in the community.

Solberg said he believed the food offer was made because the marijuana collective was "trying to validate themselves."

Director Solberg made a value judgment based on his religious convictions which results in hurting his core cause of feeding the homeless. The homeless do not know that the beans were donated by a medical marijuana dispensary. They think the beans came from nice Christians. Solberg decision is irrational. Plus, he thinks his decision is biblical instead of political, which is further proof of his irrational thinking.

"As director of Loaves and Fishes, I will continue to run it in a biblical manner, and not a political manner,” he said.

I wonder if Solberg would accept donations from an Atheist organization? Perhaps we should call and ask? (530) 241-1108 or send an email

To Joe and Gina Munday – nice try. I encourage you to continue looking for a way to help. There are other organizations that do not judge the giver but instead focus on helping the needed.

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