Monday, April 25, 2016

Food Justice Article. April 19th, 2016. From Brother Tracy Gibson.....


Brother Tracy Gibson <>

Apr 6 (7 days ago)
to Claudia, blondel.reynol.

April 3rd, 2016 Sunday


An Open Letter of Concern About Free Food Pantries in Black Neighborhoods.


Dear Congressman Chaka Fattah; U.S. Senator Robert Casey; Mayor James Kenney; Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell; Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown;& The Food & Drug Administration; The President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama & His beloved wife Michele Obama:

I Am what would be considered poor by national standards. This does not mean I Am stupid. Far from it, I have a BA degree from The Ohio State University in Journalism (August of 1978); and two business certificates from the Wharton School (from a free community educational program in 2015); I Am presently taking a 12-week parenting training class with Pastor Rodney King at the at 55th& Market Street in West Philadelphia. The class is to help me be the best children’s advocate I can be for Black children & Black youth. I Am saying all of this to talk – eventually – about nutrition and the poor. I know this is an issue our beloved First Lady & The President are very concerned about.  I have discovered a serious flaw in the way surplus food from food pantries and EBT Food allowances are distributed.  If you have high blood pressure and an eating disorder like I do, you are subject to get a very small amount of EBT allowances (I get only $16.00 a month); and the food you can get for free with an approved voucher from your state representative, state senator or City Council person is subject to be very high in fat, salt, and generally unhealthy and void of much nutritional value. (Such foods as white potatoes, white rice and white bread are often included, but are not generally considered healthy foods.).

** I know Brother Martin Luther King didn’t die on a cold hotel balcony on April 4th, 1968 to allow things to remain this way. I know Sister Rosa Parks didn’t dedicate several years of Her life to end up rollin’ in Her grave over anger about this issue. I know Stockley Carmichael (Kwame Ture) didn’t open paths to Africa for us and talk about ``Black is Beautiful’’ just to have us end this fight for true freedom; true economic viability & true economic equality for us to stop when such immense problems as fairness in food distribution still exist. During the last few weeks I had to go to the food pantry for several items because ends didn’t meet due to the very small amount of money I get per month for SSD (Social Security Disability) per month ($1,324.00). Black men  like me suffer disproportionately from high blood pressure. My doctor and I, Doctor Joseph Boselli of Drexel Medicine on Broad Street in Philadelphia, have worked for literally over 25 years to get my blood pressure down. When I started exercising about a year and three months ago things started to brighten up as my blood pressure went down. I was exercising about five to seven times a week and I was losing weight and feeling good. I do not spend money willie-nillie, freely or haphazardly on anything.

**Even if I wanted to, I just don’t have money to be able to do this. I have a new partner which has helped me improve my life and my level of Joy has significantly gone up. But I now have to find time for the new boyfriend and cooking, cleaning, writing,  going to the gym saving the world (I Am a major Black political activist in the City of Philadelphia), and for going to the Free Library to research & study, running an ``S’’ corporation, watching and sometimes reviewing movies, reading books etc.  It is not an easy life, but it is one that I cherish. (When I was struck from behind, pushed to the ground, and rushed to the hospital with broken glasses and a slight concussion in 2013 I thought maybe I had  seen my last days). Fortunately I recovered with a few stitches and was even given a $250.00 check from the City of Philadelphia to replace the broken glasses. Please don’t think I am ungrateful for the good things and the breaks I have gotten.  I Am very thankful for the good and great things that have happened to me as well.  

**Moreover, something must be done about providing better, more quality food for elderly people who are poor (I am 59), and for people who have high blood pressure or diabetes or other serious health risks. [I Am sure my doctor, Doctor Joseph Boselli would agree with me.].  People like me should get much more of a food allowance on their EBT cards because the free giveaway food is massively unhealthy. Here is a list of some of the items I was given at the free food pantry with the salt content. [Sodium and salt are about the same thing.). I have also said whether or not each item is acceptable or not for a low salt, low fat diet that might be typical for a diabetic or a person with high blood pressure. : [As you know people with high blood pressure are not supposed to eat hardly any salt and people with diabetes should stay away from too much fat and sugar in their diets. (I should mention that I generally stay away from cheese, fried foods, sodas, beef and pork to increase my chances of staying healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and not have a heart attack, stroke of other severe health risk.

** Goya Grape Squeeze-it Jelly  -- no sodium (acceptable); 11 grams of sugar (acceptable); no transfat (acceptable).  This is an acceptable food item, in my estimation, even for our Black children.

** Musette’s Dijon Mustard – 130 milligrams of sodium per  teaspoon (acceptable);    no saturated fats; no sugar mentioned. This is an acceptable food item even for our Black children.  People who put mustard on Hoagies instead of mayonnaise are generally a lot better off. Utilizing wheat or whole grain bread is good also especially instead of white bread.

** JIF Creamy Peanut Butter – 135 milligrams of sodium per 2 tablespoons; no cholesterol; 3 grams of sugar; 2.5 grams of saturated fat; 3 grams of sugar. (notice How the measurement went from milligrams to grams -- which is a much larger measurement -- without any notice whatsoever.). This product is made by the J.M Smucker Company; & The Pillsbury Company. This is an acceptable food even for our Black children.

** Field Harvest Mixed Vegetables – 140 milligrams of Sodium per ½ cup; no transfats; 3 grams of sugar. Even though this item has white potatoes in it – which generally speaking are a no, no  --   I find it to be an acceptable food item even for our Black children. If this is the only food you have you can rinse the white potatoes in a strainer and rinse off 40 % of the salt / sodium.

** Field Harvest Sliced New Potatoes – 360 milligrams of salt per 2/3 cups; no transfats; no cholesterol.  I find this an unacceptable food due to the high salt / sodium  level  and due to white potatoes being generally unacceptable for healthy diets. If this is the only food you have you can rinse the white potatoes in a strainer and rinse off 40 % of the salt / sodium.

** Tio Franco Refried Beans – 120 milligrams of sodium / salt per ½ cup;  No cholesterol; no saturated fats; One gram of sugar. I find this to be an acceptable food even for our Black children. You can make soup & put a can of this in the soup along with a lower salt / sodium Spaghetti sauce & it will not only stretch out the soup for more servings, but also hold back the salt.

** Our Specialty Macaroni and Cheese dinner  --  510 milligrams of salt / sodium per 1 cup prepared; no cholesterol; 3 grams of sugar;  This is a dangerously high level of sugar and salt / sodium. This particular food item should not be allowed on the Black American table of good bounty. I ate some when it was all I had in the house to eat along with extra mozzarella cheese. (I was given a big bag of mozzarella cheese from the food  pantry). The macaroni and Cheese with the extra cheese had a very bad impact on me even while I went to the gym with some regularity. Not good enough for our Black children.

** Stuffing Mix for Turkey – Distributed by Foodhold u.s.a. – 430 milligrams of salt / sodium per ½ cup; 3 grams of sugar. Not an acceptable food item.  Much too high in salt / sodium for the Black Family table of Bounty and not acceptable for our Black children. Could cause health risks. Please compare labels  with other similar brands such as Stovetop Stuffing for chicken.

Conclusions: please read labels on foods before you purchase them especially if you do not get exercise on a regular basis (and no I don’t mean walking an extra block for the bus). Please also write a letter to the people above (most of this can be done through the internet) to tell them you want more food stamps (EBT card accessibility) because you are a responsible father or mother & want only the best for your family and the food coming free from the food pantries is very hurtful to Black families. You can also write me with your own views & I will place the information on my new blog for food.

Or send a regular mail letter (best Way ): Brother Tracy Gibson,

President, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Of: Brother Tracy Gibson & Associates, Incorporated

Post Office Box 42878

Philadelphia, Pa 19101 – 2878

Thank you for reading this important article.  Funding provided by upcoming grants from various Black foundations & Black socially conscious celebrities. 

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