In a recent piece on the current state of food banks, Paul Taylor remarked, “We demand gratitude for what we’ve given.”

In a country where food has been recognized as a human right by the state (see the Universal Declaration on Human Rights), emergency access to food should not feel like a handout. People should not feel a sense of obligation to the person or institution who provided that food.

These historic notions of generosity and servitude are pervasive today, lingering still in the ways that we position emergency access to food as an act of charity. As long as we talk about food in the context of charity, we continue to rid the state of its responsibility to deliver on the right to food.