Rodney Bowers of Hey Meatball! is launching a meal token program to feed the hungry
This spring, Rodney Bowers, the chef and owner of Hey! and Hey Meatball!, is starting a new program aimed at helping the underprivileged in Parkdale. Patrons at Roncesvalles’s Hey! will be able to buy low-cost tokens to give to people in need, who can then redeem them for a freshly made sandwich. The idea, which takes inspiration from a similar program in Vancouver, has been criticized by anti-poverty activists for undermining the dignity of the homeless and inadequately addressing the systemic problems underlying hunger in Toronto. Still, it’s at least an attempt to negotiate the rapid gentrification that’s been going on along Queen West and Roncesvalles, with a flurry of trendy restaurants pricing many people out of the dining market. [Toronto Star]
3 thoughts on “Rodney Bowers of Hey Meatball! is launching a meal token program to feed the hungry”
i’ve already been on an angry rant about the vancouver version of this. it basically reinforces the stereotype that street people cant be trusted with money or basic life choices, and that if you give them a couple bucks they’re just going to spend it on crack. the liberal yuppie sense of charity just slaps an uninformed band aid on poverty, while ignoring its own class privilege and the structural roots of poverty and homelessness. i’m going to go out on a limb and say that street people don’t need more sandwiches.. they need less structural inequality. and less gentrification pushing them out of their neighborhoods (the kind of gentrification establishments like rodney bowers’ perpetuate).
im not big on charity (as opposed to actual solidarity), but this isn’t even charity. this is essentially a way for this dude to promote his business and score yuppie good samaritan points while not actually “giving” anything. he’s selling these tokens for other people to give.
privileged middle class people shouldn’t be made to think that throwing street people a few scraps here and there is something noble or worthwhile.. something to feel good about. poor people are poor for a reason. our society is broken, and it wont be fixed by guilt and sandwiches.
What’s wrong with you?? Rod Bowers is just trying to help out, which is more then what you are doing as you said you are against charity. Way to help out Patrick.
whats wrong with you? lots of people do really terrible things by “just trying to help out” when they have no understanding of the sensitive issue they’re dealing with. and i’d be extremely surprised if bowers is “just trying to help out” .. as if this isn’t producing publicity for his business and putting cash in his pockets?? his business that’s a perfect example of yuppie gentrification that displaces the poor people that he’s supposedly “trying to help out”
my problem with charity is that it addresses only the symptoms, and not the problem. addressing the problem would include looking at economic injustice, and going beyond band-aid solutions that often become self perpetuating, paternalistic industries that eat up lots of money and good will, and offer no actual solutions. i help out more than you’ll ever understand.
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