Paul Ryan embarrasses himself with soup kitchen photo-op, soup kitchen pays the price

After Paul Ryan’s embarrassing soup kitchen photo-op went viral, his supporters became irate, and now the Youngstown soup kitchen is paying the price, according to Jason Cherkis of  The Huffington Post. Not only has the volunteer who spoke out about Paul Ryan’s photo-op received countless threatening (largely anonymous) calls from angry Paul Ryan supporters, but donors are pulling their funding from the organization, Cherkis reports.

From Jason Cherkis of The Huffington Post:

Ryan may have suffered a few late-night jokes, but the fallout for the soup kitchen appears to be far more bruising. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, confirmed that donors have begun an exodus in protest over Ryan’s embarrassment. The monetary losses have been big. “It appears to be a substantial amount,” Antal said. “You can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash.”

Antal says he can’t give an actual dollar amount. “I can’t say how much [in] donations we lost,” he said. “Donations are a private matter with our organization.”

Antal’s charity represents the kind of organization that conservative Republicans might champion. But that was before the Ryan incident went viral a few days ago. According to The Washington Post, Antal said that the moment should never have happened. He told the newspaper that the photo-op was not authorized and that the campaign had “ramrodded their way” inside.

Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal’s volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said. “The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity,” he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity’s Facebook wall, including statements like “I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status,” Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice” and “Shame on you Brian Antal!”

On the phone with HuffPost, Antal seemed worn out by all the vitriol. “Honesty, I really don’t need any more attention,” he said. “I really just want this to go away.”

Antal said doesn’t understand why donors would take out their frustration over the incident on those who can’t afford to pay for their own meals. “I’m a volunteer,’ he said. “I receive zero compensation. Withholding donations is only going to hurt the over 100,000 we serve annually.”

If you’d like to make a donation to the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, please send it to P.O. Box 224, Youngstown, Ohio, 44501.


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15 thoughts on “Paul Ryan embarrasses himself with soup kitchen photo-op, soup kitchen pays the price

  1. Lisa, this is just terrible. This soup kitchen is located in Youngstown, Ohio, a city that has never fully recovered from the closure of many steel mills and other industrial sites during the 1970’s and 1980’s, and, as a result, many people there are quite poor and some of them depend on that soup kitchen just to avoid going hungry.

  2. Of course this is the exact reason the soup kitchen had a clear policy not to let partisan politics in the doors. Damned shame they didnt live up to that policy

    1. Yes, it’s too bad the non-partisan policy was not followed. It’s also too bad that those most in need, as Aaron mentioned above, have to suffer because of it.

  3. Think I’ll call Ryan’s office and ask if he’s intending to make a statement of support for the soup kitchen, or a donation, or any gesture that might help to put things right.

  4. That now makes two false posts on this blog without correction or retraction:

    I guess I can understand some angry supporters in the face of the original false accusation, which in the grand scheme of things doesn’t matter much anyway. (Can we get back to Big Bird please?)

    The rest of your post amounts to little more than speculation. Maybe there are donors upset that Ryan was allowed in there and that’s why they are pulling funding. How much money has the place lost as a result?

    I would say anyone who would pull a donation here is just as silly as a boycott of Chick-fil-A or boycotting businesses that didn’t put up the union pro-recall poster in their window. Tell me Lisa, did you make an effort to frequent those businesses that were boycotted by the union thugs? Was there a post to send them donations in the wake of their livelihood being ruined?

    1. fmsn-

      It’s not speculation because the people who pulled their donations made their rationale very clear; they did so because of the comments made by the shelter volunteer about Paul Ryan’s “ramrodding” his way into the shelter and the fallout Ryan received from the story. I linked to the Huffington Post article so you can read all the details.

      The volunteer was not allowed to disclose the amount of money lost by the organization, as he stated in the article.

      I generally do not participate in boycotts, myself. But a homeless shelter is quite different than Chick Fil-A. That’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. And the situations are quite different, as well.

      1. The union bosses trying to ruin someone’s livelihood by destroying their business seems far worse to me. The only difference in the situation is that in the case I describe is deliberate and blackmail.

        If the volunteer was not allowed to disclose the amount, perhaps the volunteer should not be speaking at all. It seems his words are the cause of the whole mess anyway. First he made a false statement, then retracted, now this. I would be concerned about my money going to such incompetence too, but don’t blame Paul Ryan.

        Again you say you do not participate in boycotts, but were you proactive in feeling bad and asking for donations/purchases to offset the loss of business due to the union boycotts?

        1. fmsc- I understand what you’re trying to get at, but again, I do not agree that the homeless shelter situation and the Chick-Fil-A situation are comparable, so this line of argument is not going to get us anywhere.

          I do not think the volunteer expected that his statements would create such a backlash. He’s a volunteer at a soup kitchen who is trying to help those less fortunate.

          It’s an unfortunate situation, one that could have been avoided had Paul Ryan gone through the proper channels to get his photo-op instead of showing up and putting the volunteers in this situation.

          You may not agree with me. We may just have to agree to disagree on this one.

      2. Lisa, the director’s story isn’t adding for me. This story has been out for what 2 days? How many donations could be pulled by ryan supporters in that period, probably not much. It also requires the assumption that it is the republicans who were supporting the charity in the first place, or else there would be no donations to pull. Of course, that would require republicans to care about the poor and the consensus around here is that they don’t.

        I’m paid to be a cynic but It appears to me that the director is willing to step into the spotlight to obtain national attention for his charity. I suspect that numerous other websites have publicezd the story and encouraged donations to the charity. I think he is playing this for all it’s worth and taking everyone for fools.

        1. Of course, that would require republicans to care about the poor and the consensus around here is that they don’t.

          Yoooo what the fuck here. Conservatives as individuals very capable of caring for the poor as they often tell me everyday that they give to charities regularly, just as they are able to care for their families and friends. Let’s be rational here.

          The rest are good arguments though.

  5. Obama has it in his power to fix all this. All he has to do is turn over all his school and passport applications and records to Donald Trump, and the Donald will write a $5 Million check to the charity of Barack’s choice.


    1. Too bad Dan Rather isn’t still around. He could dig up some forged docs for the Donald.

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