Baltimore has been the site of protests, riots, and fires this week following the death of Freddie Gray, who died in a hospital after injuries sustained while in the custody of Baltimore police. Gray died of severe injuries to his spinal cord, which was 80 percent severed from the neck down, doctors say. After his funeral this weekend, the entire city erupted into chaos.
While the initial wave of protests — a mix of peaceful picketing and dangerous looting and brick-throwing — has begun to calm down, the National Guard is still a presence in the city, which has been rocked by racial tensions boiling over. Yesterday, Whole Foods donated sandwiches to the guardsmen and women on the scene, provoking a mix of patriotic praise and outright criticism from social media. Many people believe that giving food to the probably well-fed National Guardsmen while local kids, whose schools were closed because of the protests, continued to go hungry was in poor taste, while others saw nothing wrong with the action.
so @WholeFoods is making the national guard sandwiches while 70k baltimore kids are going hungry cuz closed schools = no free lunch
— SKINNY FRIEDMAN (@skinny412) April 28, 2015
So @wholefoods is sending sandwiches to the national guard working the neighborhood that doesn't even have a grocery store.
— Jen °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖° (@AdviceChicken) April 28, 2015
— Michael Freeman (@michaelpfreeman) April 29, 2015
Whole Foods Instagrammed their donation, saying “We teamed up with Whole Foods Mt. Washington 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!" but the post was soon deleted after it invoked ire.
"We removed the post because it did not accurately reflect all our local stores are doing to feed people across this city, especially children," Whole Foods spokeswoman Katie Malloy told The Daily News. "Again, we love our community, and will continue to support our city in the days to come, as we always do, and extend our heartfelt sympathy to those affected."