Tucson Charity Chief Turns Down $2,000 "Blood Money" Donation From Walmart

flagg brian azpm shot.jpg
Image: Arizona Public Media
Brian Flagg, head of the Casa Maria Free Kitchen (seen here in a 2011 interview with Arizona Public Media), turned down a $2,000 donation from Walmart to make a statement about how the chain treats workers.

The head of the Casa Maria Free Kitchen in Tucson has turned down a $2,000 donation from Walmart, calling it "blood money" because of the way the mega-chain treats workers.

Brian Flagg admitted to the Arizona Daily Star, however, that it would have been "harder to resist" a higher amount, like $200,000 -- equivalent to the charity's yearly budget.

Sticking to principles is a nice idea, but not when it conflicts with reason.

Still, Flagg's small act of rebellion is drawing attention to what he sees as rightful criticism of Walmart. He believes it's worth the pain of turning down the $2,000 -- which was just about what the charity paid in property taxes last year.

"We feel that even though Walmart has low prices, they pay lousy wages, they're anti-union and they have a detrimental effect on the survival of small businesses," Flagg told the Tucson newspaper. "We consider that blood money."

Walmart started the squabble by announcing that the charity would be among those receiving a total of $15,000 in donations following the opening of a nearby store -- even though it had never discussed the matter with Casa Maria.

The Casa Maria Free Kitchen, says an online mission statement, is part of a Catholic worker's movement that began 80 years ago in New York City. A 2011 newsletter says that every day, the place serves about "500 bag lunches and 150 family food bags in addition to coffee and huge pots of soup."

Walmart executives issued a statement in their own defense, saying they pay above-average wages and benefits, and that the company donated $345,000 last year to Tucson charities.

In any case, Flagg's protest will be tough to hear over the din of thousands of Black Friday shoppers at Walmart today.

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@andybellatti FREAKING IDIOTS!

Avery Marx
Avery Marx

multi-billion dollar company donating the charity of employee earnings, not from the company profits, something the wally family is notorious for. im not surprised.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Crappy wages, slave-labor working conditions, crowding out local businesses. That's the high cost of low prices.

ExpertShot topcommenter

I helped to produce the annual Earth Day events in the Phoenix area for 20 years (1989 to 2009).  In 2008, APS offered our organization, Earth Day Arizona, Inc., a grant.  We had already established a policy for accepting grants from polluters because we saw the hypocrisy of Valley Forward accepting 90% of their funding from polluters and then also claiming they were an environmental group. Our policy was that we would accept their money the first year - on the condition that APS start the process of becoming a CERES company.  APS did what we asked and became the first nuclear public utility to become a CERES signatory, but then flaked out on their commitments the next year.  The following year, APS offered us their grant again and we said NO - in a very public manner.  We returned their check with a letter stating why and we sent it to the media, including New Times.  It was never published.  However, APS continued to publish reports on them giving us money, even though we had returned it. This did chase APS back to CERES though.  I think they learned their lesson.


These grants are very small amounts of loose change for these big polluter corporations.  However, the savings in media promotional costs they get (and believe me they get it - by working it in the media) far outweighs the amounts initially given.  Community goodwill is hard to come by.  It's done by hard work, dedication and commitment to the community.  These corporations like APS and Walmart want to buy their goodwill.  Good for Casa Maria Free Kitchen!  They're doing the right thing.  Make Walmart BUY their commercials to fool people they're good for the community.  I just wish the other non-profit (prostitutes?) organizations in Arizona would stop taking this blood money!




Walmart is a prim example of corporate American greed.


Products made in China while shitting on the American workers.


GOOD FOR YOU Mr Flagg. I refuse to shop there for the same reason.


didn't this flagg guy's grandfather ever explain to him that "beggars can't be choosers?" he's lucky that anybody donates to an organization associated with the church of kiddy-diddling.

66rock topcommenter

 @blessyoumychild   That paints with a broad brush. Most priests are good dedicated men who are not criminals, but the bad ones reflect on all unfortunately . Also, I can remember, and find on google, tons of incidents involving  kids with pastors throughout the years but for some reason no one ever calls the Protestant church names, wonder why that is. And lets not even get into the Mormon church on that count. The evil and criminal cannot be tolerated in any church.


 @66rock  @blessyoumychild they "cannot" be tolerated? I think that you meant to write "should not" be tolerated. the catholic church has demonstrated not only tolerance towards the criminals, but has actively shielded them from justice.

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