For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Matthew 25:35,36
What would you say if I told you – depending on where you're at – you could go to jail for feeding homeless people?
If you possess a lick of common sense, your reply would likely include an expletive (or two) insinuating I was attempting to excavate livestock waste in your general direction.
Unfortunately, I'm not full of it. Down in Florida, three people were arrested recently for doing just that.
An article in the June 2 edition of the Orlando Sentinel detailed the roundup, which took place in one of the city's parks. The trio reportedly are members of an organization which calls itself Orlando Food Not Bombs. Two of the members posted the $250 bail shortly after their arrests; one – Keith McHenry – is reported to have chosen to forego bail and "let the legal process take its course."
McHenry, according to the Sentinel, is a co-founder of the International Food Not Bombs movement.
Worse yet, the arrests in Orlando are not an isolated story but may be indicative of a trend in American cities. It would seem the latest great new wave of public policy is the War on Individual Charity.
I read a story similar to this out of Houston months ago. There was a couple there who were told by authorities they had to cease and desist home-cooking meals and passing them out to the homeless people in the city as they found them – Progressive do-gooders were unhappy that they hadn't gone through all the health department inspections of their home kitchen and other credentialing.
A representative of the local Health and Human Services Department who spoke with the Houston Chronicle insisted the city had to look out for the public health and wellbeing of the homeless by enforcing controls for public food safety in all situations of food distribution.
So, the ultimate logic is it's better to increase the homeless' risk of starvation (or at the very least malnutrition) than have to worry about whether or not the less fortunate might or might not be exposed to the same risk of food-borne pathogens as they otherwise might be by going to a food pantry and getting the same food from there that they'd be getting from a Good Samaritan who bought those exact same food items at their nearby grocery store and cooked it for them.
But, all is not lost for the Houston couple. According to another government paper pusher there, instead of taking it upon themselves to do charitable work they could avoid the hassle by signing-up with one of the local-government-approved non-profits.
Yes, scoop-me-up another healthy serving of Nanny State, please!!