I find it interesting that people are outraged that they would need an ID to vote and worried about people being disenfranchised, but find it completely necessary to have an ID in order to give people food to feed their families and so they don’t go hungry. Or is it?
The Fighting Poverty Coalition had a long discussion about having to have ID’s to access food pantries. The concern at the time is that some people were asked for them and others weren’t. Particularly latino/a persons. But, I’ve since found that it seems kinda random about when people need ID’s or “proof of address”. Yeah, what if you don’t have one? You guessed it – another problem for the homeless.
Anyways, I was under the impression that ID’s were not required at most pantries as a result of that discussion. Come to find out, I think they are required at most pantries. In fact, this flyer says so. And that you need proof of address.
Ah, an address, such a luxury. I feel absolutely terrible for people who don’t have one who must be asked at least 3 or 4 times a day for their address, which serves as a constant reminder that they don’t have one. Or, as I’m finding out, they have several. Making it even more confusing, especially since they don’t actually live at any of them. A friend or relative’s house, the Hostility House, Dane County Human Services, but none of their mail comes to a consistent place and its a task to track it all down.
And it makes it hard to remember which address you used for which thing when someone asks what your address is.
So, back to the pantry issue. Should you have to have an ID to get food? They can’t require you to prove your income, that you are actually “poor enough” to be able to get food? Why is an ID necessary? My understanding is that any address will do. Here’s some info that I got yesterday about why food pantries do what they do.
♦ The application process requires the participant to complete the application with their name, household address and the number of people in their household.
♦ A utility bill or a piece of mail can be used to demonstrate residency.
♦ Households must not be required to show proof of income. Participants self-declare eligibility upon signing the application.
♦ Households are not required to show proof of dependents. *See Note.
♦ Participants may be asked at subsequent visits if anything has changed about their situation; if not, pantries are only required to have the participants sign for receipt of the commodities.
♦ Participants must sign for the receipt of commodities each time they receive food.
♦ Pantry staff and volunteers should request ID from the household member or proxy who is providing the signature for the receipt of commodities.
♦ DHS does not require households to provide documentation for proof of their dependents.
♦ ID can be a Driver’s license, a State ID card, another form of a picture ID, or any other form that proves identity.
*Note: Although household proof of dependents is not required by DPH, food pantries may have decided that this is necessary for their operations. If a food pantry asks any household for proof; then they must ask all participants at the pantry for proof
In Massachusettes they successfully got the state to say that asking for IDs was prohibited. Any chance we could do that in Wisconsin?
I was recently reminded of this issue when one friend was denied access to the pantry because he didn’t have proof of address, even tho he had gotten food at the pantry the two weeks before. And, when another friend got their ID stolen and couldn’t go to the food pantry. Luckily, they had friends who helped them out, just as they would do for their friends in the same situation. However, these are folks that have been homeless and going to food pantries for over a year (in case you are wondering, in both these cases, they have been waiting for over a year for their hearings about their disability determination and have significant challenges in getting work so they have zero income.) It seems like everything is made so hard and is so frustrating, I don’t know how these folks get up every day. You can probably tell, I’m extremely frustrated with how hard everything is for homeless people . . . its been a running theme in my blog and my life lately. I knew things were bad, but in helping individuals and becoming friends with people, I’m rediscovering just exactly how difficult everything is. There has to be a better way.
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