For instance, the Cap Times currently has a piece up about an Allied neighborhood activist who's working to organize shuttle buses to take residents grocery shopping. This is in response to the looming loss of the Cub Foods that currently serves the area.
This guy, Mike Bodden, has taken the selfless initiative to see what can be done to help those people without access to a car or bus (for whatever reason) get to a grocery store. He's running this operation out of a local food pantry that's sponsored by a group of churches.
Seems straight forward enough, right? Not according to some of the generous souls in the comments section, from whom we get such gems as "Has anyone ever considered giving these leakers a ride to a 'job'? Naw, not the likes of The Capital Times, wouldn't want to hurt their feelimgs [sic]. What a bunch of nonsense," and "Yeah, this is a joke. I like how they're 'operating' out of the Boys and Girls Club. Does the B & G Club know that? Do they have insurance for something like that? What happens when someone gets hurt on the bus or in a car accident? And the 'maybe some businesses would like to take it on' comment?!? Really? Yeah, nobody wants that bus pulling up to their business, up to and including Woodman's."
Bodden said he planned to charge a small fee to ride the grocery shuttle, but it would not cover the estimated $200 weekly cost of providing the transportation.
The service would operate out of the Boys and Girls Club, 4619 Jenewein Road, where the food pantry is located.
"Any good souls who would like to help support this, it would be appreciated," he said. "Maybe some business would like to take it on."
Can you feel the love?
Someone else goes on to rail against the "use of taxpayer money" to fund projects like this, apparently completely missing the part where this is being paid for by donations and a small rider fee. Are people really so eager to shit on needed community service projects that their brains just shut down, overlooking the facts of the matter entirely and opting instead to just lash out?
These kinds of comments, I think, speak volumes about the misperceptions and misplaced animosity that exist in our community regarding the working class and impoverished among us. All of these cries to "pull yourself up by your own damn bootstraps" completely miss the part where many of these people simply don't have any bootstraps to begin with. It behooves us, as those fortunate enough to have been given better opportunities in life, to do what we can to see that everyone gets the same chance to do well for themselves.
And before anyone jumps down my throat, allow me to point out that there's a big (and incredibly important) difference between creating a situation where people can mooch off the system and your good graces without giving anything back or taking some responsibility for themselves, and creating a situation where everyone has the same opportunities but then must take it upon themselves to take advantage of them and work toward something better.
Currently, the latter and better situation is not the case. And making sure that people have access to food is the least we can do to right that. If you can't see that, it's high time you turned your brain back on and really started learning about your community--all of it.