Central Texas Food Bank receives hateful letter

When the Central Texas Food Bank received a letter in response to a recent direct-mail campaign this week, the staff was stunned.

“The lack of empathy was disturbing,” says Paul Gaither, marketing and communications director for the Food Bank. “Most of the letters we receive say things like ‘we don’t have anything to contribute’ or ‘please take me off your list,’ but this one was a little different.”

The food bank received the letter on Nov. 21, and how it was sent was also remarkable, says Gaither. The sender used the Food Bank’s remit envelope, but used his or her own stamp, did not include a return address and used a fake name: “Citizen Robespierre”. Here are the contents of the letter:

Dear Foodbank:

I don’t understand who these poor folks are that need food. I assume they consist primarily of illegals, who came to Texas for “free stuff.” And of course, our Africans, who find work too much trouble, especially when they can collect the equivalent of $40,000 a year on welfare, and other “benefits” offered to the unfit, the lazy, and the under-educated… and, of course, the drug addicts.

I suspect that most who need food are marching around whining that the congenital liar, Hillary Rodham Clinton, lost the election. Too bad; how sad.

I also wonder if your organization is one of those Phoney-Baloney, so-called “charities,” designed primarily to provide a good living to its organizers.

In short, no way.

Citizen Robespierre

Gaither said that while the Food Bank has received letters like this in the past, “it seems to be a more widespread attitude,” recently.

Central Texas Food Bank says the letter-writer expressed several misconceptions about who receives help from the Food Bank and its partner agencies, and that receiving a letter like this, “can take the wind out of our sails.”

“It’s important that we don’t categorize the people we serve as ‘takers'” Gaither said. “Most of the people we serve have fallen on hard times or are the working poor who just can’t make ends meet, and that can happen to anyone.”

In fact, Central Texas Food Bank serves about 46,000 people a week in 21 counties, via 250 partner agencies (like food pantries, soup kitchens), as well as through its own mobile pantries that distribute to areas where fresh food is less available for sale. About one-third of the people it serves are children, about two-thirds of the households they serve have at least one working adult; and 93 percent of the people they serve are not homeless. With the exception of about 5 percent of the people who identify as “other”one-third of the Food Bank’s clients identify themselves as white, one-third as African-American and one-third as Latino, according to Feeding America, the national, umbrella organization of food banks.

Neither the Food Bank nor its agencies inquires about citizenship, says Gaither. “We serve people in need and we’re not going to turn away anybody.”

As far as its credibility, Central Texas Food Bank has received Charity Navigator’s highest score of four out of four, receiving a score of 100 out of 100 for accountability and transparency.

Gaither says campaigns like this address the increased need at the end of the year and in the summer, when utility bills increase for cooling and heating. Many of the people it serves are on fixed incomes, and food costs compete with other household costs like utility bills, rent, and transportation. “Food comes out last sometimes,” says Gaither.

“All we can try to do is chip away at these misconceptions,” says Gaither. “It’s important that people know we serve anyone in need of help.”

Learn more about Central Texas Food Bank

About givingcityaustin 900 Articles
GivingCity is Austin's only cause-focused media company helping people and organizations understand our community and inspiring them to make it better. Online, in print, broadcast and live. Learn more.

62 Comments on Central Texas Food Bank receives hateful letter

  1. I always give because I know that everything this uneducated person said is far from true. Deplorables will be on the attack now that the election was stolen by a racist. I will continue to give.

  2. You have no duty to chip away to explain anything to this kind of hateful ignorance. Almost everyone knows of the hard work and dedication you and your organization do; all with an open heart. This kind of hatred is taught. You are teaching love just by what you do. Maybe he will figure out someday. In the meantime, ignore.

  3. Please, Please, Go back to school. 12 more years would do you good. I had to read multiple times and still don’t understand.

  4. I go to the food bank once in a while & only when necessary & it’s very demeaning 2 me & my family 2 hear from someone like this. I work 34 hrs per week but I can’t afford to pay all my bills because we have 7 people living in the same home. So that person has no idea how embarrassed it is 4 us to have to beg 2 make ends meet but you do what you have to 4 your family. And you push your pride aside.

  5. Agreed Dina. My family falls in the void between making too much to qualify for food assistance and making too little too afford rent, utilities, food, and other household necessities. There are times you have to suck it up, put away your pride and do what you have to so the kids have something in their stomachs.

  6. Thanks to that poor individual we all got a much needed re education of just how many of us need help, and that it is a pretty even distribution. Let’s just hope that individual doesn’t need your help, because that crow he would have to eat would be an aufully big TURKEY!

  7. There’s nothing wrong with going to a food bank, I have gone to food banks, and I have donated to food banks.
    So the misleading garbage that this person has decided to spread is bs. People need to have food, we have a hunger problem in this country now, that is only going to get worse. And now that we have a leader who is wealthy, all of us who work for a lower wage, need a little bit of a boost, because we are not going to have a leader that cares. We all have to do what we have to do. Surviving with a little extra food from a food bank, is not a problem. People who are having larger families than they can afford to take care of. That’s the problem.

  8. My mama always says “There but for the grace of God goes I” when asked why she donates food, money, and time to charities. Too bad Robespierre mama raised him to be a selfish, ignorant, a**hat.

  9. What an angry, unfortunate soul who probably spent Thanksgiving Day not being very thankful……..and alone. Even if he/she was in a room-full of people, alone.

  10. Only cowards leave notes like this. They have no honor or any value whatsoever. It would be better if they stayed hid in their cave and left the rest of us to live in peace. Just as i will sign my name to any comment I make, the person who wrote this note should have done the same thing. But alas, this is the underbelly of American society raising its ugly worthless head to spit hate to those they can not compete with.

  11. The author of the note is too heartless and ignorant to realize that more whites are on assistance that blacks and “illegals.”

  12. We waste more food in this country than any other country on earth. We should be ashamed that so many children and people go to bed hungry every single night.

  13. I think that the majority of people who agree with the mindset of Citizen Robespierre are angry, resentful and disillusioned with their own lives. Those who come from generations of unskilled laborers and factory workers and generally live in rural America. They resent the changes technology has made in the job market and the scarcity of those jobs in their communities. Who believe so much in their genetic superiority and are focusing all this anger on the shifting social climate of tolerance and equality. They feel they have been robbed of their role in governing, the benefit of their inherent privilege and setting the social standards in this country.

  14. What an ass. You try making ends meet on $800 a month for a year than you have the right to complain. You start year five of the job hunt, you have the right to complain. This wealthy asshole needs to visit an actual food bank and see the people being helped. The biggest problem facing us people is lack of jobs, and for those who have jobs, making too little to make ends meet.

    I bet this ass voted for Trump.

  15. Strange thing. I’ve worked with nonprofits in their fundraising and found that many times those with the most give the least. Remind anyone of Drumpf?

  16. It’s sad, that we live ina world of souls blessed by God, that we should think ourselves worthy to condemn one to a life without the simplest of gifts.

    I wander what happened to the writer of the note to lose heart, and lash out with such bigotry.
    Clearly, compassion would serve their soul as well.

  17. The people who think that way are no doubt the same folks who believe all the fake news – the tragic irony of today!!!!
    “”At any given time, Coler says, he has between 20 and 25 writers. And it was one of them who wrote the story in the Denver Guardian [[ The Denver Guardian isn’t even a real news agency]] that an FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails was killed. Coler says that over 10 days the site got 1.6 million views. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories.
    “The people wanted to hear this,” he says. “So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then … our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.”””

  18. Guess it’s time to increase our monthly donation! Hey, “Robespierre,” if you lose your job or your family falls on hard times, guess what? The Central Texas Food Bank will be there for you. And they won’t judge.

  19. There is more than a lack of empathy, there is a total lack of humanity. Citizen Robespierre must be have a sad soul. Too many people shoot from lip and hip without seeking the truth. Unfortunately, many don’t even care because their efforts lay in fearing what they can understand,blaming society for their shortcomings and using a lot of energy to hate.

  20. What a turd, and what a bigger turd for wanting to be anonymous. In order to get benefits from the state, you have to go through A LOT of paperwork, interviews and time. In order to scam the system, you need smarts and according to the turd, he wouldn’t categorize ‘these people’ as such. Food banks and pantries are a huge necessity for many, especially at the beginning because it takes time to get any type of benefits.

    I have a decent job. However, I had brain surgery and have been on disability much longer than expected. It reduced my income significantly and I got further and further behind. After 4 months of trying, I finally got SNAP benefits, a whole $27 a month, for three months. During that time and before it, I considered going to a food bank, but I always had quarters and change laying around to get milk, cereal and coffee. Or I sold things around my house I didn’t really need anymore. It’s still tight, but I scrape by, and I know there are families and kids that need the food bank food more than I do.

    I never wish ill on people (most of the time!), but I really do wish that one day you will know what it is like to not have $1.50 to buy milk, or .80 for an apple for your child, or enough money to buy your medications and not have anything in the pipeline or near future that eases your fears that it is going to be ok in a week, or two, or a month.

    It appears the Central Food Bank ranks the same as the Houston Food Bank. In Houston, along with the transparency, it really is a TRUE charity, in that .95 of every $1.00 goes to food and facility (the one building), so there are no corporate fat cats. They feed Houston, we donate to feed Houston, we volunteer to feed Houston. Oh, and ‘Africans’? Really? Are you referring to Americans that have more melanin in their skin? Whinny Clinton voters? Most who receive benefits are in Trump won red states (like Texas, red, republican governor, republican senators, etc.).

    So what was your point again? We’ll see you at the food bank once the economy tanks, China and Russia take over and you along with everyone else will be getting rice and corn rations! Turd!

  21. You need to do your research. All Black people are not on welfar, due to pride. Food prices are so high, I look from weekly store ads to see what’s on sale. I am on a fixed income and have ends meet. This person was be upset as they can’t get help for themselves. Look into those back woods people who will lose everything. They are not black or Hispanic.

  22. Most food stamp recipient households contain an elderly or disabled person. Those that do not often consist of a single parent working full-time and their children, with a total household income too low to cover basic household expenses.”

    “There is a 5 year lifetime nationwide limit on family welfare (TANF, formerly AFDC). Since the 70’s, the average time on welfare has been less than 2 years. The exception is foster children (whose care comes out of the TANF budget) who can receive aid until age 18 to 25 depending on state, instead of just being tossed on the street with no high school diploma, no job training, no housing, and no funds on their 18th birthday as used to happen routinely.”

    If you are not elderly, disabled, or a child, or a full-time caregiver for an infant or disabled person, you cannot get food stamps unless you are already employed or enrolled in a government-sponsored approved job search and/or job training program

  23. I pray Citizen Robespierre never finds himself hungry and without resources. He would no doubt be dependent on the kindness of strangers. What a sad person he must be.

  24. This is the attitude of the people who elected most of our current Congress, Senate, and President. I wish it was not so, but apparently it is. Next in the cross hairs are Senior Citizens (how dare they get to old and sick to work)! US Congress intends to gut Medicare and severely cut back Social Security in the next few months (click link). This should matter to you whether you are conservative or liberal as all of us paid for these benefits through a lifetime of work.

    Please contact your elected US Congresspersons and Senator, and tell them not to gut Medicare and cut Social Security. Act now or loose these benefits that are yours by right. https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

  25. He said what every one of us knows. Main reason I don’t donate. May as well burn the money – it would do less harm.

  26. To “citizen Robspierre” and other like minded people:

    I am not illegal, nor looking for “free stuff”. I do not find “work too much trouble” nor do I even know of where you could possibly get 40k/yr in “welfare and benifits” . is that even possible? Where did you get your information (PLEASE tell me “not the news!) ?
    I am not unfit, lazy, under-educated, nor a drug addict.
    I am not marching around “whining” about HRC (I didn’t vote for her, JillnotHill).
    It must be nice to apparently never have felt the need to ask for help.
    It must be nice, in your home, to look down on people in need of one of the most basic elements of life, food.
    It must be nice to never have to worry about where yours, or even your CHILD’s, next meal will come from, if it comes at all.
    If you don’t agree with or need a service, simply don’t use it. It does not mean that others won’t have a need of it.
    If you “don’t understand who these poor folks are that need food” I urge you to go into a less well off community and OPEN YOUR EYES. Instead of “assuming” anything, you should go out and educate yourself instead of calling others “under-educated”.

    In short, being heartless to other’s plights serves no purpose.


  27. Giving should be from the heart, without ceveats about who is deserving and who isn’t, especially when it comes to food.

  28. Hatred gets nobody anywhere. Looking at people by skin color is not a way to act because everbody from all walks of life at one time or another somewhere in their family line there was someone who needed help because they couldn’t make ends meet. Who are we to judge when somewhere our own closet had skeletons. When you have extra please share, if you don’t have enough don’t be afraid to ask. I may or may not agree with our newly elected President, but in all honesty this has nothing to do with politics. It has everthing to do with people helping people. Agree or disagree it’s just my opinion

  29. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to teach this person anything especially how his/her letter is full of untruths. They are not smart enough to listen.

  30. Please don’t let this take the wind out of your sails. This nation if full of people, all of whom have an opinion about things. Some people, especially those who have never fallen on hard times themselves, have no idea what it means to be desperate for their next meal, especially when children are involved. Let me encourage you that the work you do is loving, giving, caring, and promotes life. Isn’t that what the Kingdom of God is about? Keep doing your great work of kindness and help, and let the naysayers speak to deaf ears.

  31. You can than thank Trump for bringing out all the haters and trash that live amongst us. At least we know where most of them are because of him.

  32. I wish the food bank had chosen to throw this note in the trash where it belongs and not given it the additional “boost” for others of a like mind to read and laugh at, and for the food bank clients to see this evidence that there are people out there who are ignorant and hateful toward them. Too often it seems the haters are given a platform so we can all express our moral indignation and outrage, and it feels good to know we’re not “that” person. But I think this does more harm than good. Ultimately I think of the food bank clients, and I want to protect them from this trash. Their lives are full of enough struggle without having these vile comments published as well.

  33. Who sends a letter like this without disclosing their real name ?? I’ll tell you who, a cowardly chickenshit.

  34. To the writer of the letter:
    Since the majority of people I this nation are white, anyone with an IQ above 100 can figure that the largest number of people needing assistance are white. But keep believing that only those you hate and disqualify as human are the only recipients of assistant. And you’ll keep getting turned down for jobs that require things like reading cimprehesion, simple computation, and problem-solving and critical thinking skills. But you’ll blame your joblessness on illegals for stealing jobs picking tomatoes.

  35. I have never had the need for food bank but I know some who have. I personally believe that there is a need for the food bank. I have contribute to such charities they are there for a reason being to help our citizens. During the downfall of oil prices my wife and I got assistance from lone star card. I thanked them for there were there when we needed help. I am a veteran 65 yrs old and i live in midland tx.to that coward who wrote the letter. I hope and pray that you or your family will never have to use this program. For no matter your attitude they will not turn you away.

  36. After reading the whole list of comments I’m very please that just Mr.Robspierre and Nr. Alex are the ones full of hate. I understand them, after all the garbage the republicans spred over the last year and a half we can thank God that just few americans are soo uneducated and ignorants that can’t even read a good publication of true news or be able to reserch for real facts. I am and spanic who worked on this country for over 40 years pay my taxes and made my apport to SS and NEVER got food stamps or COLLECT unemployment and I retired with 708.00 a month, there is not such a thing of getting 800.00 for doing nothing. This was a great country untill now, unfortunately people like the author of the letter and the trump supporters ruined it.

  37. I’ll pray for this individual. Pray that he has some spiritual awakening to open his eyes to that which is reality.

  38. Some people are just ignorant. You may not need these services but in America we have these services so that people will not go hungry. I thank God for these services and the people that run and work them. Why should kids and people go hungry and struggle if WE can contribute to them having food and such. I personally feel sorry for him. HAVE COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE, SOME PEOPLE JUST NEED HELP SOMETIMES DUE TO NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN! IT COULD BE YOU ONE DAY!

  39. Most of the people at food banks are there BECAUSE they don’t have EBT cards. They are the working poor, the people with low wage jobs that provide no benefits. Many have degrees.

  40. Maybe I should write back to them and tell them that families who have just come out of a domestic abuse situation need food banks so we can eat and feed our children. No paperwork to apply for anything because we packed what we could and left in the middle of the night when he wasn’t home and didn’t realize we left things behind…or that our abusers had taken all personal paperwork and held it hostage so we would stay. This person has no clue!

  41. All his letter does is show how uninformed he is. He probably has no empathy for himself either and wouldn’t learn any empathy even if he was humbled by having to request the help of these organizations himself and see how much “free stuff” and exactly what percentage of that “40k” in “benefits” he can find. I agree with K.Phipps above and do not even know where or how that would even be possible.

    People who have had hard times help others most because they know what it is like to be without. He sounds like someone who has been privileged all his life, has never had a truly hard moment, and whose parents were probably as narcissistic as he now is. His heart is cold.

    To the food bank, thank you for posting your demographics and being transparent, and THANK YOU to all who work at food banks, for all you do. You have helped someone survive one more day.

    His attitude is neither humane, kind, nor Texan, where we lend a hand to our neighbors, we are generous and not greedy. Disregard, or better, pray for those with the attitude in his letter.

    There is nothing wrong with using a food bank and asking for help when you need it. That is what we are here for; to love each other.

  42. In 2016 14.5 million (19.7 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty. 4.2 million (8.8 percent) seniors 65 and older were in poverty. These numbers come from the Feeding America website. So this “anonymous letter writer” obviously did not do his research, or educate himself before spouting off. I work for a non-profit, who feeds the homeless and/or hungry and I can guarantee his facts are incorrect! His opinion does not matter one bit, if he cannot back up his argument.

  43. This is just the kind of letter with those “words” that really upset me. There are so many good words in the English language! I am an author and I found 52 good words to use in my daily vocabulary, when I am speaking to someone.

    Three of those good words are *Love*, *Hope*, *Gratitude*

    I *love* the fact there are people who understand the hardship and struggles of those less fortunate. I *love* the fact that these wonderful volunteers begin in this most *loving* action to inspire others to be involved.

    I *Hope* that those who run the food bank will take heart. There are people who send letters like that because they are with out *hope*.

    They are the most unfortunate ones. Without *Hope* you will never find or accept *Love*. And there is no “handout” for fixing ones soul without hope or love.

    If you can find a muster seed of *Gratitude* for what God does help provide for each of us through his good people who run the food bank.

    We should count our blessings!

    I have needed the food bank myself a couple times when things were really hard. I know, I am personally *grateful* that God provided his angels on earth to be there to feed his sheep.

    Wishing each person that brings love, hope and some nourishment the most happiest and blessed holiday.

    Your Friend,

    Jo Grace ( Ky)

  44. Although Robespierre’s legacy is a mixed bag, there is evidence that he was an advocate for the poor and the oppressed. The author of this vile piece of uniformed thought has an incomplete grasp of history. Invoking the name of Robespierre is an obvious attempt to appear intelligent. The content of the letter proves otherwise. Hopefully, donations to the food bank will now increase.

  45. Sounds like a Facebook troll aka a 35-45 yr old male with no life. Keep up the great work Food bank and people never justify why you need what you need it’s none of their business

  46. About twenty seven years ago, I was a young military wife with a baby. We struggled to make ends meet. Food got scarce. I remember eating next to nothing to make sure my daughter had enough. (I lost a lot of weight and I was told how great I was looking.) My commander’s wife found out what was going on. I was ordered to get help. I remember going to the food bank (under duress), getting only what we absolutely needed. I was forced, yes forced, to take more.

    White. Married. Child (conceived during wedlock). Military.

    The people who donated to the food bank helped a small military family through a storm. Thank you.

  47. Dear Citizen Robespierre,

    May I begin by saying that it’s ironic that you have associated yourself with a French revolutionary that was an advocate for the poor? I’m sure that Maximilien appreciates your disparaging of those that need assistance, given that that was one of the first things he stood for? Or perhaps you’re embracing his “Reign of Terror” that was beset by mass executions of the opposing political faction. Either way, we have food banks up here in Canada as well. Should I assume that these are predominantly frequented by illegal Americans looking for a handout when they sneak across the border? I would recommend you do a little bit of research into your hate filled misconceptions to find out who needs help and why before launching into a racially biased written diatribe against people who often have no way of defending themselves against it and are sometimes ashamed of the fact that they need assistance at all.


    Someone That Aspires To Be A Better Person

  48. The letter writer is also too much of a dimwit to know that Robespierre was guillotined without trial. Hopefully the letter writer will achieve the same fate.

  49. Most of that letter is incorrect, and obviously very hateful sounding, but I’ll tell you what else is incorrect– everyone assuming the author is wealthy, white, male, etc. I don’t fit that description at all and while I support the work of the food bank in various ways, I will tell you the main group of people who develop this attitude over time- It is the people who don’t just stop working at 40 hours/week (let alone 35 hours, 34, 20, or whatever else people do) and work additional jobs, or overtime at their main job, the people who don’t just continue to do everything the same when their income changes (and adjust luxury item spending as needed), and the people who don’t spend every penny (when avoidable) in order to have savings. I fully understand and feel for those who legitimately fall on hard times and need a hand up (and the elderly!), but there are a LOT of people in my community who choose not to work, or to work reduced hours and who spend freely and then expect people to pick up their slack. I work 40-60 hours per week, every week (my full time job plus overtime at that or other side jobs), buy my clothes secondhand, clip coupons, save money, go without many luxuries, and have put off having a family, while meantime, I look around and see many many families in my community who have 2 capable adults yet only one works and they have several children and continue to have more, and continue to eat expensive takeout/fast food, buy cigarettes, beer, soda, etc. Even families with two working parents can’t afford that many children, so I don’t understand that. And there was a time when I needed help (more than once, actually) and was denied and for a reason that encourages people to not plan for emergencies, so this is the type of thing that makes a person start to be disillusioned. Does this person take it too far? Obviously. But I understand where some of it comes from. They probably bust their butt and go without and never got any empathy from anyone else, and it’s hard to give it after decades of that.

  50. You folks are awesome. Especially the person that talked about food stamps and TANF. I am from Arkansas and the federal regulations are the same here. very well educated person to know these facts. Here in Arkansas it is the same. Most of the people that receive government assistance are employed but under paid. I honestly wish that our middle class or middle income citizens could see this. Our biggest problem is wealthy not pulling their share. Trickle down economics has never and never will work. It is like everyone is trying to climb the ladder and the ones at the top are putting their boot in the face of the one behind them to keep them down. It really is a sad time for our nation.

4 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Central Texas Food bank receives angry letter: ‘I don’t understand who these poor folks are that need food’ | All Ablog Austin
  2. Central Texas Food Bank Receives Nasty Note From Anonymous Letter Writer – Patch.com
  3. Hate Incidents Are Spiking in Texas, and We're Keeping Watch
  4. Central Texas Food Bank Receives Nasty Note From Anonymous Letter Writer – Patch.com | APG Editorial

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.