I’m responding to the article “Hunger drives more Mainers to soup kitchens,” Jan. 25.

In this article it was stated: “Maine has 252 food pantries, and demand is up.” This article also stated: “Maine has roughly 60 meal programs, sometimes called soup kitchens.”

A percentage of food that goes to these food pantries and soup kitchens come from donations from Maine farms. A number of those donating farms have workers that are paid minimum wage. It is not uncommon to hear farmers explain how they operate on thin profit margins.

Using logic, if farmers that donate food have thin profit margins and Maine voters elect to raise minimum wage, do you think those farmers might face bankruptcy? Do you think that might interrupt the flow of food going to places experiencing higher demand for free food?

Hey, we could raise the minimum wage so people won’t have to rely on food pantries or soup kitchens. However, if this results in a number of Maine farms closing operations, that’s less inventory on the food market. Supply and demand would then trigger higher prices due to a lower supply of food. Basically, increasing the minimum wage would cancel the benefits.

(This doesn’t even include how landlords would merely increase property rents if voters forced an increase in Maine’s minimum wage.)

Ironically, if farms did close, those laid off may have to depend on food pantries and soup kitchens, thus increasing demand for those services.

Maine is dependent upon farmers to bring food donations into municipalities for distribution. We cannot expect this to continue if we show disregard for farmers struggling to maintain profit margins if we vote to increase Maine’s minimum wage.

This is yet another reason why Maine voters won’t force an increase in minimum wage in November’s election.

Douglas Papa


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