How Not To Feed The Hungry Cheaply

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Public relations people like to send the media swag with their announcements. Why? To bribe us, of course. Which is why last week, when several Houston Press employees received a fairly large box in the mail, we thought maybe there were some cookies in there, at least.

But it turned out to be one of the saddest boxes of swag ever: some stray orange confetti, a piece of orange tissue paper, a small plastic plate and one of those dang Livestrong-inspired bracelets - this one says Hunt.Fish.Feed.  

The almost entirely empty box was sent to the media to announce Hunt.Fish.Feed's game-meat dinner on Friday, March 27, at the Star of Hope Mission. "The donated game will provide a nutritious, home-cooked meal of venison (low in calories, fat and cholesterol and high in protein) to hundreds of homeless men, women and children in Houston."

Now, we're okay with not receiving cookies from Hunt.Fish.Feed. There's no need for that. We just wonder - why the elaborate packaging? Why send out a big box of nothing? It seems wasteful. Why not use the money spent sending out God knows how many boxes, you know, feeding the hungry?

Even stranger, after the group's apparent attempt to make a PR splash, we thought they'd want to talk to us. But both our call and email to Hunt.Fish.Feed have gone unanswered.  

Anyway, the $1.85 it took to send each empty box got us thinking about Hunt.Fish.Feed. It's cool that they're donating meat to the hungry. But it's hardly the most efficient means of getting food in people's bellies. According to a hunter we know, bagging a deer is, bare minimum, going to you back at least $500, when you factor in your ammo, equipment, license, place to hunt, etc. More likely, it will set you back thousands.

But for the sake of argument, let's say one deer = $500. What if that money just went directly to the charity? What could they get with that money? A few minutes spent at foodservicedirect.com shows you can get 36 pounds of Ragu, 22 pounds of Ranch Style beans, 12 pounds of ziti pasta, 20 pounds of Del Monte spinach, 36 pounds of Chef Mate chili, 12 pounds of Planters mixed nuts, 56 pounds of Kraft rice, and 25 pounds of Chicken of the Sea tuna.

With $15.10 to spare. Just saying.

- Cathy Matusow

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