What would you do if you came across someone on the street that had not had anything to eat for several days?  Would you give that person some food?  Well, the next time you get that impulse you might want to check if it is still legal to feed the homeless where you live.  Sadly, feeding the homeless has been banned in major cities all over America.  Other cities that have not banned it outright have put so many requirements on those that want to feed the homeless (acquiring expensive permits, taking food preparation courses, etc.) that feeding the homeless has become “out of reach” for most average people.  Some cities are doing these things because they are concerned about the “health risks” of the food being distributed by ordinary “do-gooders”.  Other cities are passing these laws because they do not want homeless people congregating in city centers where they know that they will be fed.  But at a time when poverty and government dependence are soaring to unprecedented levels, is it really a good idea to ban people from helping those that are hurting?

The Economic Collapse

City To Ban Street-Corner Feedings of Homeless

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has announced a ban on the feeding of large numbers of homeless and hungry people at sites on and near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Mayor Nutter is imposing the ban on all outdoor feedings of large numbers of people on city parkland, including Love Park and the Ben Franklin Parkway, where it is not uncommon for outreach groups to offer free food.

Nutter says the feedings lack both sanitary conditions and dignity.

“Providing to those who are hungry must not be about opening the car trunk, handing out a bunch of sandwiches, and then driving off into the dark and rainy night,” Nutter said.

CBS Philly see  video  here

Orlando Activists Arrested For Feeding Homeless In Defiance Of City Ordinance

Over the past week, twelve members of food activist group Food Not Bombs have been arrested in Orlando for giving free food to groups of homeless people in a downtown park. They were acting in defiance of a controversial city ordinance that mandates permits for groups distributing food to large groups in parks within two miles of City Hall. Each group is allowed only two permits per park per year; Food Not Bombs has already exceeded their limit. They set up their meatless buffet in Lake Eola knowing that they would likely be arrested as a result.

The law was first passed in 2006, after local residents claimed that Orlando Food Not Bomb’s twice-daily homeless feeding was becoming disruptive. A federal court ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in 2008, deciding that Food Not Bomb’s activities are a protected form of free speech. But in April, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the earlier ruling. They agreed that feeding the homeless constitutes free speech, but argued that the Orlando ordinance does not infringe unreasonably on the group’s rights. (An editorial in the Orlando Sentinel supported with the court’s decision this morning. They note that “at least 10 organizations regularly serve food to the hungry downtown” without defying the law.)

Huffington Post.com

Houston permit rule stops couple’s effort to feed homeless

City puts a stop to homeless outreach
Couple must have proper permit to continue feeding dozens each day

Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.

That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their “Feed a Friend” effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.

“We don’t really know what they want, we just think that they don’t want us down there feeding people,” said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.

Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.


Homeless ministry says Dallas food ordinance restricts their religious freedom

A Dallas-area ministry is suing the city over a food ordinance that restricts the group from giving meals to the homeless.

Courts dismissed Dallas’ request for a summary judgment last week, saying the case, brought up by pastor Don Hart (in video above) may indeed be a violation of free exercise of religion, as protected by the  Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the blog Religion Clause reported.

In the court filing, the ministry leaders argue that their Christian faith requires them to share meals with the homeless (Jesus did!) and that the requirement that even churches and charities provide toilets, sinks, trained staff and consent of the city keeps them from doing s

The Chron.com

Las Vegas Makes It Illegal to Feed Homeless in Parks

LAS VEGAS, July 21 — Gail Sacco pulled green grapes, bread, lunch meat and, of course in this blazing heat, bottles of water from a cardboard box. A dozen homeless people rose from shady spots in the surrounding city park and snatched the handouts from her.

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Gail Sacco, a retired restaurant owner, has for years been giving meals to homeless people in a Las Vegas park. The city has outlawed the practice.

Monica Almedia/The New York Times

Recipients of Ms. Sacco’s handouts say that they are far from shelters and that they get little public assistance.

Huntridge Circle Park is about three miles from most soup kitchens.

Ms. Sacco, an advocate for the homeless, scoffed at a city ordinance that goes into effect Friday making it illegal to offer so much as a biscuit to a poor person in a city park.

Las Vegas, whose homeless population has doubled in the past decade to about 12,000 people in and around the city, joins several other cities across the country that have adopted or considered ordinances limiting the distribution of charitable meals in parks. Most have restricted the time and place of such handouts, hoping to discourage homeless people from congregating and, in the view of officials, ruining efforts to beautify downtowns and neighborhoods.

But the Las Vegas ordinance is believed to be the first to explicitly make it an offense to feed “the indigent.”

The New York Times

Nanny Bloomberg Bans Food Donations to Homeless Shelters: Too Salty!

No Kugel for you!

By JEFF STIER, New York Post

Last Updated: 12:08 AM, March 19, 2012

Posted: 10:43 PM, March 18, 2012

So much for serving the homeless.

The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.

In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.

For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife, Lenore, have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side Orthodox congregation.

They’ve brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood. (Disclosure: I know the food is so tasty because I’ve eaten it — I’m an OZ member.) The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city.

Church Ordered to Stop Giving Away Free Water

A Louisiana church was ordered to stop giving away free water along Mardi Gras parade routes because they did not have the proper permits.

“We were given a cease and desist order,” said Matt Tipton, pastor of Hope Church in Metairie, LA. “We had no idea we were breaking the law.”

Tipton said volunteers from his church were handing out free coffee and free bottles of water at two locations along a Mardi Gras parade route when they were stopped by Jefferson Parish officials. The church volunteers were cited for failing to secure an occupational license and for failure to register for a sales tax.

“It kind of threw me for a loop because they weren’t in uniform,” he said. “But once they pulled the ticket out, I was conviniced.”

“We apologized,” Tipton said. “We didn’t know the rules.”

Todd Starnes Radio.Fox News.com

It is illegal to feed the homeless

Before it  was illegal to  feed the  hungry  in  America

“Hidden Homeless” Homeless in Rural America

Uploaded by on May 5, 2010

This MC-TV documentary tells the story of one homeless person in rural Western Illinois. Thru her story we see the special challenges that confront those individuals who find themselves homeless in area with limited services.

USA in hunger and poverty

Uploaded by on Jul 23, 2009

American author and journalist Sasha Abramsky talked to RTs Anastasia Churkina about the staggering number of hungry Americans embedded in poverty, and the atrocities of the US prison system.

Food for Thought: What is Hunger in America?

Uploaded by on Oct 29, 2009

The Faces of Hunger competition called for young filmmakers to capture what hunger looks like in America. It seemed straightforward enough; all I had to do was go down to a homeless shelter or a food bank, ask some questions about their stories, and I’d have my video. Right? Wrong.

In the film, Food for Thought, I discovered through the process that the true issue of hunger did not only lie among the homeless population as many assumed, but with the people around us — middle-class families, and most humbling of all — my own family. Let me tell you, it was not easy to admit.

When I came to terms with this difficult fact, my first reaction was to drop the film. This was not what I expected to discover and it was far too personal to share publicly. But as I reflected more and realized that there could be 35 million stories of hunger hidden under blankets of pride, I found myself with no choice but to speak out. I needed to share the fact that families like mine are only able to get through those tough times with the help of others. Hunger is so much more than just a need for food — it is the need for community.

With the help of my fellow filmmaker Shelby Barnes, I decided to go forth and finish the film. And so we invite you into this journey.

– dolce wang

Poverty in America Land of the Free, Home of the Broke

Uploaded by on Dec 21, 2010

Government reports one in seven Americans now live below the poverty line. For more, click here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/povert

Hunger & Poverty In America

Uploaded by on Mar 6, 2011

The issues of hunger and poverty in America is as troubling today as ever. The sad part of this tragic situation is how many children are being affected by the ever shrinking middle class in this country. If you have been a borderline supporter of your local food bank or other entities that are trying to fill in the gap…change your status and get involved.

Tool Time: Bloomberg Policing Homeless Diets

Uploaded by on Mar 22, 2012

NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg found a new demographic to force his food regulations on, the homeless. Hasn’t it gone a little too far when we are trying to monitor the sodium intake of the people who live their lives on the streets, never knowing where their next meal is coming from? Apparently Bloomberg doesn’t think that it is too far, new regulations in New York ban the donation of food to homeless shelters.