8 Black Panther Party Programs That Were More Empowering Than Federal Government Programs

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People’s Free Ambulance Service

The service provided free, rapid transportation for sick or injured people without time-consuming checks into the patients’ financial status or means. The People’s Free Ambulance Service operated with at least one ambulance on a 24-hour emergency basis, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a nonemergency or convalescent basis, according to Hilliard. People were transported to and from the hospital or doctor’s office in a modern, comfortable ambulance by courteous, efficient and knowledgeable attendants.

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Free Food Program

This program provided free food to Black and other oppressed people. The intent of the Free Food Program was to supplement the groceries of Black and poor people until economic conditions allowed them to purchase good food at reasonable prices, according to Hilliard. The Free Food Program provided two basic services to the community: 1. An ongoing supply of food to meet their daily needs. 2. Periodic mass distributions of food to reach a larger segment of the community than can be serviced from the ongoing supply. The community was provided with bags of fresh food containing items such as eggs, canned fruits and vegetables, chickens, milk, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal and so forth. A minimum of a week’s supply of food was included in each bag.

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