The British publication, Mail on Sunday, is facing harsh criticism after running an article which claimed the U.K.'s largest food bank provider, The Trussell Trust, isn't abiding by the rules.
The article, which reported that volunteers "were filmed admitting that people could take free food without checks," and that "fraudsters routinely 'take advantage' of the handouts," was mocked on social media, as many Twitter users expressed outrage over the news source's attempt to defame an organization with a worthy cause.
Others were upset an undercover reporter took food away from those who need it in the name of investigative journalism, as reporter Ross Slater described how he obtained three days' worth of food without providing identification. Slater later addressed the criticism on Twitter, saying he returned all the food and made a small donation to the food bank.
Several users targeted The Daily Mail with their anger -- a separate publication, but one that's owned by the same company as Mail on Sunday:
DAILY MAIL REPORTERS. Stealing candy from a baby makes the perfect dessert to go with your food bank stash. (via @Thumbsuk)
— Twop Twips (@TwopTwips) April 20, 2014
Why is the Daily Mail PLEASED it took food away from people who need it? It's like the King Joffrey of Newspapers.
— M. Cox (@Melissa_Maria) April 20, 2014
However, the outrage sparked an element of good. According to a Buzzfeed report, The Trussell Trust's JustGiving page had received about 250 donations prior to the publication of the article -- that number has skyrocketed to almost 5,000 as of early Thursday afternoon. The donations to the charity totaled more than 60,000 British pounds.
An online petition, with more than 10,000 signatures, is also demanding Mail on Sunday apologize for the article that "grossly misrepresents" the charity's work.
In the U.S., families can obtain food assistance in several ways, including through charities, religious organizations and state-run food assistance programs. While charitable and religious programs have varied standards regarding proof of need, any government source verifies income as required by federal standards of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). But many states have lessened their requirements beyond that, such as Massachusetts which recommitted its ban on food banks requiring photo IDs in 2010.
Are you or someone you know struggling with hunger? Call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479.