Bank Throws Away Food Right In Front Of The Poor And Hungry

Author: April 8, 2013 4:33 pm
Give the poor free food? I'd rather throw it in the trash! - Conservative proverb

Give the poor free food? I’d rather throw it in the trash! – Conservative Proverb

Last week, I wrote about a company that forced school kids to throw away their lunch because they didn’t have enough to pay. That was pretty outrageous and a lot of people were upset, chief among them the parents. Now, the company apologized and blamed an untrained cashier for the mistake and promised that it would never happen again. It was all just a big misunderstanding, you see.

But a few weeks ago in Augusta, Georgia, it was anything BUT a misunderstanding as hundreds of people were forced to watch as a bank repossessed a grocery store and then throw away all of the food:

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

Just to reiterate, we’re not talking about fresh foods that the bank might not have been comfortable letting people take, we’re talking about canned goods, dry foods, baby food, you know, the stuff you feed to hungry babies. How hard could it have been for a bank to have the people sign a “at your own risk” notice and let them have at it? Who would be endangered by handing out diapers and soap?

This is even worse than the school lunch debacle and is inexcusable. The bank is trying to blame the tenant, Il Ki Choi, for not vacating the premises until forced to do so by marshalls but that doesn’t excuse the callous nature of the disposal.

Why were they there? Because no reasonable person would throw food in the garbage if there are people who could use it. A bank, on the other hand? They don't give a damn.

Why were they there? Because no reasonable person would throw food in the garbage if there are hungry people in need. A bank, on the other hand? They don’t give a damn.


The police on the scene claimed they wanted to avoid any potential scuffles over food and in any case, they would not be free to allow the crowd to take the bank’s property without permission. On the other hand, the bank CERTAINLY could have had the workers that were dumping the stuff into a truck hand it out instead.

Why didn’t they?

The answer is as simple as it is disgusting: there was nothing in it for the bank. There was no profit to be made from letting poor people take food and other necessities. It was the bank’s property, they had no use for it so they threw it away rather than let someone else use it. It’s the perfect embodiment of the impersonal and inhuman nature of financial institutes. In a country where empty houses outnumber homeless people, the banks will happily let those houses sit empty and fall into disrepair rather than let someone stay off the streets for free.

When you hear a conservative talk about how Wall Street just needs less regulation and they’ll work to benefit society, they’re lying. When a bank or corporation has the choice, they will do nothing for free. They will help no one but themselves. They will not work for the common good but only to increase their bottom line. They will literally throw food in the garbage before letting someone else benefit without paying for it first.

If anything could possibly make it more clear that corporations and banks are not people and do not have society’s best interest in heart, this is it. There’s no percentage in compassion and we’re just numbers on a ledger to them.

Update: According to OnlineAthens.com, Thompson Building and Wrecking, the disposal company that was hired to cart the food away, has done what the bank couldn’t be bothered to do. They sorted the perishable from the non-perishable and handed it over to the Golden Harvest Food Bank who will inspect it and pass on everything they can to the public. It’s good to know that some companies are run by actual humans.

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5 Comments

  • Ford Fairmont

    Um, I think there’s more here than meets the eye than corporate greed. If you follow the link from the update and go a little further there are some very interesting comments by the locals along with info on the eviction. He wasn’t just turned out this week, he was given notice on January 1 that his lease wouldn’t be renewed (don’t know if he was behind, the property wasn’t kept up, or if they wanted to sell it to someone else) and he dragged his feet for over 3 months until the bank said that they’re throwing away everything. I suspect he stopped buying perishables sometime in late December and from reading the article, there were plenty left in the store. It was probably pretty ripe in there.

    One of the commenters said he was familiar with that store and others like it in the neighborhood that were notorious for not rotating perishable stock out by the expiration dates and only keeping things like alcohol and cigarettes up to date.

    I am glad that the disposal company went through and gave the non-perishable items to a food bank, but I would be *very* interested in seeing what actually was fit to be used afterwards.

  • I don’t know much about law there, but in Poland there was a case. A guy had bakery, and all bread he couldn’t sell he gave to the poor and homeless. Then tax office came, they concluded that this was gift and as those people were not his close relatives he had to pay tax for all bread he gave away. They also added interest to final sum, gut tried appealing it in court several times, but Poland has shittiest justice system on whole continent.
    He couldn’t pay, and his bakery was seized.

  • I live in Florida where SunTrust is. SunTrust is weird. They are an old fashioned anticonsumer bank. They are successful as a business bank, facilitating movement of money between businesses.
    Oddly, they sometimes wonder why they don’t have individual customers. Once they made a campaign for them. It had Benjamin Franklin dancing and singing “Don’t you want me, baby?” That is, they’d give anyone $100 if they moved all their accounts: checking and savings to SunTrust. But SunTrust not only charged 35¢ per check but 35¢ anytime you used the ATM. An free checking account required a huge minimum balance. No other bank in Florida charged fees like that.

    They have a corporate culture at the top they they just don’t get it. We have a euphemism nowadays that a person who is viciously cruel or plainly mean is called “insensitive”. I think that SunTrust isn’t cruel, it is just, dully, incomprehensibly insensitive.

  • How utterly Republican of them.

    Add this to the Rules of Acquisition.

  • Absolutely disgusting!!!

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