Lying to a charity? For shame.

This week, the UK Daily Mail ran a story about an undercover reporter who went on a sting operation to uncover cheating and poor security. Sounds reasonable? Well, he uncovered an easily swindled system by showing them how it could be done. He proved that you could lie to food bank people to get food you don’t need or deserve, by doing it and writing an expose on their terrible security standards.
Food banks are not the UN. You don’t need security clearance to get in there, and they don’t check your ID. They are there in good faith, and they hope that their clients come in good faith. Many of their clients don’t have ID. It’s hard to hold a driver’s license when you have never owned a car, because your family is too poor for that, or if you’re homeless. Could you look at a dude who puts ‘under the downtown bridge’ as his home address, and tell him he needs to bring in a utilities bill to prove his address, plus one month’s worth of pay stubs to prove his income?
Food banks provide an essential service for anyone in need. They aren’t there to do background checks, or to police how people earn or spend their money. They’re there to feed hungry people. Taking advantage of that system, even ‘just for a story’ is shameful. Breaking the social contract in not being honest to people trying to help you is not something to crow about in the papers. It’s something to hang your head in shame about, for trying to create a scandal over lovely old volunteers helping people who are down on their luck.

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