Feeding The Homeless Illegal in many U.S Cities.

feeding the homeless illegalDepending upon which city you live in, you could face a fine for helping out the less fortunate. Some major cities have passed laws that make feeding the homeless illegal.
This law might make sense if it were wild animals we were discussing. But these are people. What harm could possibly come from handing a sandwich to a hungry person?

The reasons vary depending upon the city. In NYC  Mayor Bloomberg outlawed food donations to homeless shelters because the salt, fat and fiber content can’t be assessed by the city.

What? So it is a health issue that concerns them? I suppose not eating at all, or eating rotten food from a trash bin is much safer and healthier. I think a little honesty would be refreshing. Come right out and say that the city does not want the “bums” congregating. I can respect that. But don’t pretend to give a damn about a homeless man’s fiber.

In other cities, it’s not illegal to help, but it might as well be. There are so many requirements, expensive permits, and food prep courses, that feeding those in need has become near impossible for the average person. Last year a Philadelphia woman faced a $600 fine for each day that she continued to feed poor and homeless children. A fine that would, for most be impossible to pay. I’m also going to say, that many who are wealthy enough to pay those fines, wouldn’t care to feed homeless people anyway.

It’s clear that these cities just want the problem of poverty to be swept under the rug. And I’ve seen it first hand. I grew up in Sarasota, Florida. In 2005 it was voted the #1 meanest city to homeless people in the United States. I’ve seen police beat up homeless people for sleeping on benches, and there was nothing as a teenager I could say or do without being threatened with jail time myself. These were in the days before everyone had a camera handy.
They wanted “those people” out of sight and out of mind and did not care how they went about it.

And now it’s being done with food. Don’t feed them and they’ll go someplace else. Like pigeons.
Philadelphia, Orlando, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas and NYC are among the near 50  U.S. cities with such laws with more joining them all the time.

It’s shameful, that in a country where many of us have more than we can use that an act of charity comes with a punishment. I think some Civil Disobedience is in order. I won’t be told who I can share with. I’ve worked for it, and I will give it to whom ever I choose.

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About the Author

Emme Calavera is a wife, a mother to her son and two cats. She is painter, a writer and a wannabe photographer. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and she paints with kids at her local women's shelter in her spare time.