May 22, 2014

Feeding People: Get Your Permits

Someone mentioned in the comments of Feed People to be sure to get all the paperwork in order. Case in point, police in Daytona Beach, FL (where, btw, I have a dozen relatives) have ticketed people for feeding homeless people in a public park. More than $300 each.

Now, it seems that they had been doing so for a year with no trouble, and that the police came down on them when the DBPD chief got snotty about it. This is a guy who seriously thinks that a significant number of homeless people are homeless by choice, or are sex offenders, substance abusers and bank robbers. (I dunno, I think if you’re a successful bank robber, you probably have the money to have a place to live, and if you’re unsuccessful, you’re probably in jail and not on the streets.) At any rate, he thinks that feeding poor people makes more poor people, and he doesn’t want all these dirty indigents cluttering up his pretty, expensive park that’s really meant for Real True Citizens . . . oh, and tourists. (There are parts of Daytona Beach that do not exist to serve tourists at all. Manatee Island Park is not one of them.)

The article also mentions laws and regulations in places like Gainesville, FL, Phoenix, AZ and Myrtle Beach, SC that limit the amount that can be served to the homeless, or forbid it entirely in some areas. There’s a report linked from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness. Anyone who wants to try this should look at that.

My idea specifically did not cater solely to the homeless, but to everyone. Anybody think that’s going to stop cops and officials from harassing anybody doing this? Didn’t think so.

Anyway. Find out the laws in your area. Get your permits in order. If you’re going to do it, do it right… otherwise, they’re going to shut you down and your initial costs will be lost and useless, and you won’t be able to feed people anymore.

In better news, Rhyd Wildermuth, who has a background in restaurants and catering, too, has also offered to advise help anyone who wants to take up this idea and run with it.