Saturday, March 17, 2012

Voluntary Praying at Food Pantry Verboten by Law?

An Indiana state agency has confiscated food from a local food pantry that offers to pray with needy clients, but after action by a congressman, the USDA says it may consider allowing Indiana to restart the food supply.

-- From "USDA to discuss Indiana food bank flap with officials" by The Associated Press 3/16/12

Federal officials are reviewing whether a southern Indiana pantry violates food distribution rules by asking its clients if they want to pray.

USDA spokesman Alan Shannon says agency officials will hold a teleconference Friday with state officials on the actions of Community Provisions of Jackson County in Seymour. Food bank officials will also take part in that call.

Shannon says groups receiving food from the USDA can still engage in religious activities as long as that doesn't create a barrier to people receiving food.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Prayer Costs Indiana Food Pantry Access to Gov't Products" by Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter 3/15/12

Community Provisions of Jackson County in Seymour, Ind., a faith-based food pantry supported by local churches, can no longer provide clients with federal government commodities due to its prayer policy.

Paul Brock, director of Community Provisions since December of 1997, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that the problem began in late 2011.

"The controversy began during my Nov. 29, 2011 inspection by Gleaners Food Bank. They are the distribution site the state has chosen and they are the ones responsible to do the inspections," said Brock.

According to Gleaners, faith-based food pantries connected to the government cannot require religious services or teaching to clients of their facilities. However, Brock has argued that Community Provisions' offering of prayer are voluntary and that clients are served regardless of whether or not they agree to pray.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Feds may reverse decision to cut aid to Indiana food pantry where clients are asked to pray" by Joshua Rhett Miller, 3/16/12

Paul Brock, director of Community Provisions of Jackson County, said he was "stunned" to learn that officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will re-examine his situation following the loss of his portion of food from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), roughly 15 percent of his stock.

Gleaners took over administration of the federal commodities program in October. Brock has operated Community Provisions, which serves roughly 2,000 families annually, since 1997 and said he never had a problem before Gleaners became the administrator of the federal program.

Todd Young, a Republican congressman serving Indiana's 9th District, contacted state officials regarding the matter on Thursday, his spokesman told

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.