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Food for the Needy

January 26, 1988

May I commend Times staff writer Martha L. Willman for preparing a well-researched and timely article ("Legal Stew Keeps Food From Needy," Part I, Jan. 14)?

As a comfortably retired American who survived the Depression (with help), I find the wasteful bent of our present society abhorrent. Indeed, as The Times report documented, why should Los Angeles continue to be unique in failing to utilize the large resources of wasted restaurant surplus? If other cities have found ways to get this very desirable food into the stomachs of the homeless and needy, why not here?

Why not a few dollars to fund a pilot study to determine the feasibility of collecting and distributing this large pool of now wasted food here? Secure a truck with both a refrigerated and a heated compartment (no new technology here!). This will satisfy the requirements of the city and state health officers and their "unbending interpretation" of pure food laws. Liability could be assumed, thus easing the fears of the donating restaurants. The risk should be small--after all, who's going to sue?

Is it too much to hope that some one of our elected representatives might initiate action to tap into this unending supply of prepared food for the benefit of the less fortunate?

18,000 restaurants in Los Angeles county--"We sure hate to throw it away"; 40,000 homeless--"More than any other area."

There but for the grace of God. . . .

GEORGE A. RUTAN

Palmdale

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