We lost the Charitable Feeding Ordinance vote 11-6.
IT IS NOW A CRIME TO HELP SOMEONE.
Now most of the original requests by the City we have absolutely no problem complying with. We already prepare our food in a certified kitchen, I have my food safety certification, and pass our our food within 2 (not 4) hours of preparation. Of course we don’t want anyone to get sick. The issue here is we feed anywhere up to 500 meals in less than 2 hours to Houston’s Homeless Community (along with clothing, toiletries, resources for job assistance, housing assistance, and medical help). We also pass out trash bags and use recyclable bags to hand out our food if possible. I understand how local residents and business feel about the trash and human waste so we are doing our part to leave things cleaner than when we arrived. Now it will be illegal for us to feed any more that 5 people at a time on private property in Houston. And here’s the CRAZY part, the City in which we pay taxes for to have public roads, parks, and well, public EVERYTHING is no longer considered public but PRIVATE. We have to get permission from the City to share a meal with the homeless individual (but it’s still legal to have a bbq with our friends at said places) on the corner EVERY TIME. Not because he’s homeless but because he’s homeless on “private” City property. Or we get fined. (Last time i checked City property was public property!)
When I started Noah’s Kitchen 2 1/2 years ago it was so simple. We made some meals in the kitchen (at our house) and went driving around looking for those at corners or under bridges in need of a meal. And then we began to evolve. Finding more friends that wanted to help the less fortunate and becoming more organized. Today we have built a system where we operate under a charity status, follow feeding guidelines, take demographics to better understand who/where we are serving, and do our best to not only feed and clothe, but actually HELP people get off the streets. And now that has become a CRIME. This was supposed to be easy. And now there is so much red tape just to feed someone who is hungry. Why does this have to be so difficult? The City know damn well there is no possible way to get permission for people on the move. And never once have I seen one of these large organizations out trying to feed those that can’t get to their shelters… Oh wait, that’s what WE do.
There is a petition available to help us fight this ordinance and we really need your help. Please print, distribute to other petitioners, & go out to collect signatures to defeat the City of Houston’s new anti-feeding ordinance! This ordinance represents the City of Houston latest attack on Houston’s homeless population, individuals, groups and organizations that feed or share food with others, and it sets the standard that public property is now private property for which you need the City’s permission to assemble.
These last two months have been pretty busy for me/us. Our February 5th handout we were joined by some very special people. Our volunteer Heather had her parents Mark and Shelly Lewis. They drove all the way from Michigan bringing a truck bed full … Continue reading