Taxpayer-Funded $5.5 Million Free Food Market Launches in San Francisco, Alongside Free Alcohol Program for Homeless

The $5.5 million dollar taxpayer-funded program, which allows qualifying citizens to get their food “free,” was launched on Sunday at the city market in San Francisco.

The goal of the Food Empowerment Market is to lessen the financial strain on food stamp recipients who could run out of money at the end of the month. The legislation was pushed through municipal council in 2021 by Geoffrea Morris, who contended that the market is “supplemental” and should not be the only source of food for residents.

“This is an additional food source. Food stamps ought to be the main funding source. This is a helpful source, particularly around the end of the month when people are struggling, particularly because of inflation,” Morris told the local press. He added, “If you’re having food insecurity you’re having other issues as well and you need to be engaged with the services the city has put in place to improve your life and the life of your children.”

With customers pushing carts through aisles to obtain the necessary items, the market is essentially similar to a regular grocery store in the United States. At checkout, everything is weighed and scanned in order to keep track of inventory.

The Democratic-run city of San Francisco, like many other Californian cities, is beset by a severe homelessness issue. The meal program was launched a few weeks after some locals expressed concern over another city initiative that gave homeless drinkers free beer and vodka.

Supposedly to “help keep the homeless off the streets and reduce the demand on the city’s emergency services,” the Department of Public Health in San Francisco runs the “Managed Alcohol Program” (MAP), which provides voluntary individuals with alcohol addiction with set dosages of alcohol. Many question exactly how giving alcohol to homeless people will somehow keep them off the streets.

While proponents of the program assert that it can allegedly prolong or save lives, plenty of people question if the government (and taxpayers) would be better off by subsidizing programs for treatment and sobriety.

“It’s really conflicting to give alcohol to alcoholics because it’s a disease. It’s a condition that is basically an obsession of the mind that turns into an allergy of the body. And it’s a disease that they can’t help,” one San Francisco resident told Carter. They added, “You’re enabling, and the possibility is for them to die, end up in an institution or death.”

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