As protests over the death of Freddie Gray continue to disrupt daily life in Baltimore, a local Whole Foods is coming under fire for apparently taking sides.
On Tuesday, Whole Foods Harbor East, which is close to Inner Harbor, provided a free lunch to the National Guard soldiers patrolling the city, reports Refinery29. The store posted a shout out to their Facebook and Instagram accounts of the smiling men holding up a Whole Foods bag with the caption, “We teamed up with @mtwashingtonwfm to make sandwiches for the men and women keeping Baltimore safe. We are so thankful to have them here and they're pumped for Turkey & Cheese!”
— Wanda Evans (@wandaetevans) April 29, 2015
But while soldiers were getting free meals from Whole Foods, an some on social media pointed out that many children who regularly receive free or reduced-price school meals went without lunch on Tuesday since all public schools were closed.
It didn’t take long for outraged users across all social media platforms to hit back at the upscale grocery chain for their apparent “tone-deaf” attitude toward the community.
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) April 28, 2015
— Furor Teutonicus (@BarefootBoomer) April 28, 2015
— Jim Chambers (@jccfergie) April 28, 2015
Some defended the chain and acknowledged that it is not the responsibility of one grocery store to make up for a lack of government action when it comes to dealing with issues of poverty.
If poor kids in Baltimore aren't getting a meal today b/c schools are closed, that's on 57 years of Dem city leadership, not Whole Foods.
— Leslie ن (@LADowd) April 28, 2015
Within a few hours, Whole Foods deleted the post and issued the following statement to ABC News: “We removed the post because it did not accurately reflect all our local stores are doing to feed people across this city, especially children. Again, we love our community, will continue to support our city in the days to come, as we always do, and extend our heartfelt sympathy to those affected.”
A spokesman for the National Guard told ABC that the men in uniform "are all 'Baltimoreans,'" and they are "neighbors helping neighbors."