(WASHINGTON) — The head of an Ohio soup kitchen where Paul Ryan stopped with his family over the weekend said on Monday that the Romney campaign barged its way in for a photo op.
Ryan, his wife Janna, and their children donned white aprons and washed dishes — that appeared to be clean — after a campaign stop Saturday in Canfield, Ohio.
Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society President Brian Antal told the Washington Post on Monday that if the Romney campaign had inquired through the proper channels, their request to have the Ryan family volunteer at the non-partisan charity center would have been denied.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal told the Post. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission.”
A Ryan spokesperson said the campaign followed standard procedure for setting up the appearance. The meal being served at the kitchen was already over by the time the candidate arrived around noon.
Ryan spoke to a woman and her children who volunteered that morning.
“We just wanted to come by and say thanks for doing what you do,” he said. “This is what makes society go. It makes it work. Helping people.”
The candidate remarked that he, like the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, is Catholic.
In the vice presidential debate with ABC’s Martha Raddatz last Thursday, Ryan said his faith was a factor in everything he does.
“My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life,” Ryan said.
But Catholic leaders have in the past criticized Ryan for a budget plan that would mean cuts to services for the poor. The Church remains divided on that front; at least one blogger for the National Catholic Register thinks, in that respect, the Bishops were wrong.
The Ryan campaign said the stop was meant to recognize the work of the volunteers at the kitchen.
“It was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of volunteerism and local charities,” Ryan spokesperson Michael Steel told ABC.
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