Buffalo Masten District Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr. has filed a resolution with the Buffalo Common Council calling on officials to suspend the licenses of any food store selling any goods for profit that were donated as a relief effort to the residents of Buffalo, New York. This comes as a response to several reports that some food stores have been exploiting relief efforts by selling these donated goods for a profit.
“No one in any capacity should engage in the exploitation of someone else's tragedy,” said Council Member Wingo. “This behavior is disgusting and the people of the CIty of Buffalo deserve better.”
Buffalo’s east side has often been referred to as a food desert because of the scarcity of options for fresh and healthy foods. A food desert is defined as an urban area in which access to affordable or quality fresh foods is extremely limited or prohibitive. The Jefferson Avenue Tops Market was a store that residents had requested for years and has serviced an area that had otherwise been a food desert for about two decades.
With the Jefferson Tops being shut down while law enforcement agencies investigate the racially motivated mass shooting of May 14th, the surrounding community has been left without immediate access to healthy and fresh food options, medicine, and other vital items that the Jefferson Avenue Tops provided. In response to this urgent need, Buffalo, its surrounding communities, and others across America have come together to offer donations of food and other vital goods to residents of the east side community.
It has been reported from several sources that there have been food stores that have been exploiting the various programs offering free food and supplies to residents by taking these free items and subsequently selling them from within their stores;
“This unethical behavior blatantly exploits the generosity of the various organizations trying to serve the community,” said Council Member Wingo. “It shows a complete disregard for the extreme loss of life and trauma residents have faced during this time of great need and we need to put an immediate stop to this.”
Council Member Wingo has filed a resolution with the Buffalo Common Council calling on the Department of Permits and Inspections to carry out regular inspections of food stores within a radius of the Jefferson Avenue Tops and suspect the food store license of any business caught selling donated goods.
This resolution will be considered by the Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday, May 31st at 2:00 PM.