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Cutbacks a Half-Baked Idea, Food Bank Says

An Orange County group forwards profits from a dessert sale to President Bush, telling him not to eliminate groceries for seniors.

April 01, 2006|Jennifer Delson | Times Staff Writer

Workers at an Orange County food bank had anything but sweet talk for President Bush on Friday as they sold desserts with such names as "Upside Down Priority Cake," "Fib Newtons," and "Double Cross Buns" to protest proposed cuts to a federal food program for the elderly.

Food bank officials, usually surrounded by cans of meat and boxes of cheese, cooked up tastier fare prepared with a pinch of satire for their "budget bake sale" in front of a Stanton big box retailer. Items for sale also included "Political Tarts," "Flaky Policy Pie," "Pennywise Pound Foolish Pie," "Social Security Rolls" and "Program Crumbles."

"The names are funny, but this is really no joke," said Mark Lowry, food bank director at the Community Action Partnership of Orange County in Garden Grove.

Lowry said the president's proposed 2007 budget would eliminate a monthly box of food for 24,000 needy seniors in Orange County alone.

"The program the president wants to cut is sometimes the [primary] source of food for many seniors in Orange County and elsewhere," said Jerry Sanders, food bank manager.

The food bank will send the $60 in proceeds from the sale to the White House with a message for Bush and legislators who are considering the president's budget.

The president has proposed eliminating the food box program, which costs $112 million annually, because its recipients can get food stamps, said Jean Daniel, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But Sanders said many seniors were unlikely to apply for food stamps, and those who receive Social Security income don't qualify for the stamps in California, though they can get a small boost in their monthly checks in lieu of the stamps, if they would otherwise qualify for them.

Most stopping for treats Friday in Stanton were unaware of the pending cuts, but were quick to opine anyway.

"This government wants us to stay in Iraq while people in America have problems getting food," said Brad Granger of Fountain Valley.

Debbie Upton donated $10. Her stepfather, a disabled truck driver who gets a Social Security check, is a program recipient. "These boxes mean a lot to him," said Upton, who loaded her car with two "Social Security Rolls" next to his box of canned meat, cereal and cheese she had picked up earlier.

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