Unhealthy Donations–an oxymoron?

This weekend, I received a thought-provoking comment from Kathy about the whole Little Debbie’s snafu. I thought she raised such an interesting question that I wanted to get other readers’ reaction to it. Here’s what she wrote:

To call Little Debbie snacks “food” is a real stretch. I love an occasional Swiss Roll as much as the next girl, but I think the folks who are going to food banks to replenish their larder could probably do without more of this kind of sugar and trans-fat laden junk food.

A few thoughts and then I’ll eagerly await your comments: 

Nutty Bars. photo by bunchofpants via creative commons–I can see both sides of the coin on this one. So don’t hesitate to chime in.

–I think Kathy’s line of thinking quickly gets into dicey territory. Who gets to decide what’s best for everyone? It’d be great if food banks were stocked with local, organic foods, but that’s unlikely. Nor would all of the food bank customers want mostly fresh foods.

–I’ve heard many a food bank employee say that it’s nice to be able to give out some sweets, as they can provide a treat for people who lead hard lives. While they may be more “food-like substance,” than food, to quote Michael Pollan, Little Debbie’s products certainly qualify as sweets.

–On the other hand, eating food that will bring health problems isn’t great for anyone. And given that the cheapest calories tend to be the least healthy, it’s likely that many food bank customers are already eating corn syrup or trans-fat-laden items.

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