Redding, California, Uses Public Health Red Tape to Ban Sharing Food with Homeless
Like many cities on the West Coast, Redding, California, is experiencing a homelessness crisis. And, like too many cities around the country—as I detail in my book and have highlighted in many columns over the years—officials appear to have determined the problem can be best dealt with by making it difficult or impossible to share food with people in need.
Homelessness in Redding is a challenge city residents have recognized and organized to address. Last summer, for example, a group of “regular guys” in Redding partnered with a local taco truck to offer free lunches to those in need. More recently, an obituary for a charitable local resident highlighted her compassionate history of sharing homemade coffee and sandwiches with hungry residents.
Many of Redding’s homeless have come to rely on meals shared by another group in the city. That loosely organized group of charitable individuals, which a KRCR report this past summer notes, is not affiliated with any religious organization or government entity. Every Saturday for the last three years, its members have provided free meals from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to more than 150 people in Redding’s Martin Luther King Park. The volunteers provide those in need with everything from haircuts to homemade meals that they can eat on-site and or take with them.
“Every Saturday morning, the Martin Luther King Jr. Park in central Redding is transformed into a public, popup potluck banquet,” local outlet A News Café reported last week. “Although the meals are free to anyone who shows up, the intended honored guests are the unhoused, the hungry, the at-risk, the struggling, the poor, the weather-beaten and the lonely.” Donated meals often feature “homecooked dishes prepared by volunteers in their own kitchens,” the station reports. Volunteers abounded in the park—and included local politicians fishing for votes.
Recently, one volunteer approached the city, asking if it might be possible for Redding officials to provide volunteers with keys to unlock the park’s restrooms (so they can be used by those giving and receiving services) and electric outlets (so volunteers could prepare some food on site). Those simple requests, detailed by A News Café‘s Doni Chamber
Article from Reason.com