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California city opens ‘free’ food market that costs taxpayers over $5 million

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San Francisco opened a city market Sunday where qualifying residents can receive their groceries for “free,” a program costing city taxpayers $5.5 million.

The Food Empowerment Market is aimed at easing burdens for food stamp holders who may run out of resources toward the end of each month. Geoffrea Morris, who pushed the legislation through city government in 2021, argued that the market is “supplemental” and not meant to be the sole method of feeding people.

“This is a supplemental source for food. Food stamps should be the primary source. This is a supplemental source especially close to the end of the month when families are facing the pain, especially with inflation,” Morris told local media.

“If you’re having food insecurity you’re having other issues as well and you need to be engaged with the services the city has put in place to improve your life and the life of your children,” Morris said.

NEWSOM GETS HILARIOUS REALITY CHECK AFTER TURNING TO PUBLIC FOR NEW STATE COIN DESIGN

Photo shows homeless people in San Francisco standing and sitting outside in the Tenderloin district

Homeless people are seen on streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco on Oct. 30, 2021. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The market largely resembles a typical U.S. grocery store, with shoppers taking carts through aisles to grab the goods they need. Everything is then weighed and scanned at checkout to track inventory.

Like many cities in California, San Francisco is struggling with a major homelessness problem.

People inhabit encampments on the streets of San Francisco's Tenderloin District.

Like many cities in California, San Francisco is struggling with a major homelessness problem. (Flight Risk for Fox News Digital)

The food program comes weeks after some residents were outraged at another city program providing free beer and vodka to homeless alcoholics.

“How are you going to give [some] alcoholic some alcohol?” one man rhetorically asked Fox News contributor Sara Carter. “That’s some bull!”

SAN FRANCISCO UNDER FIRE FOR PROGRAM GIVING BOOZE TO HOMELESS ALCOHOLICS: ‘WHERE’S THE RECOVERY IN ALL THIS?’

The “Managed Alcohol Program” (MAP) operated by San Francisco’s Department of Public Health serves regimented doses of alcohol to voluntary participants with alcohol addiction in an effort to keep the homeless off the streets and relieve the city’s emergency services. 

Experts claim the program can save or extend lives, but critics wonder if the government would be better off funding treatment and sobriety programs instead.

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“It’s really conflicting to give alcohol to alcoholics because it’s a disease. It’s a condition that is basically an obsession of the mind that turns into an allergy of the body. And it’s a disease that they can’t help,” another San Francisco resident told Carter. 

“You’re enabling, and the possibility is for them to die, end up in an institution or death.”

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