Certainly such sentiments are noble and should be embraced by all. If you can help, you should.
Of course, the government doesn’t always want you helping, or makes it so hard that you cannot help.
We first reported on this lunacy back in November of 2011 where a soup kitchen in Morristown, New Jersey that had been open every day without fail for over 26 years was facing shutting its doors because the state government had declared the safe, well run kitchen a “retail establishment” based on the number of people it was serving, not because of it charging anything for its services.
The additional costs for eliminating volunteers, training paid employees and upgrading food stations to restaurant quality would be over $150,000 per year. That is $150,000 that could be going to help people that instead would be diverted to issues that had never been a problem in the establishment.
We said it at the time and will repeat it again: that is friggin’ nuts.
Later in the year at Christmas, Cody Walter of Billings, Montana was told he could not provide Christmas dinners for the handicapped and shut-ins because the kitchens in the homes of volunteer cooks were not certified to be “safe” for preparing food for public consumption. The state said they were only concerned with “public safety” in telling Walter he could not help neighbors and those in need.
The state’s assertion was, of course, reindeer muffins.
Not to be outdone by other states, the city of New York has now told people who brought excess food to shelters they can no longer do so because the state cannot monitor the salt, fiber and fat content in the items being donated. This means if a store has some excess bagels, the state believes it is better the bagels go to waste rather than feed the homeless. The regulation also applies to homemade foods. A soup or stew, for example, cannot be donated to a shelter trying to feed people because the salt, fiber and fat content cannot be determined.
But Mayor Bloomberg, a salt-aholic himself, was unapologetic.
“For the things that we run because of all sorts of safety reasons, we just have a policy it is my understanding of not taking donations,” Bloomberg said.
Told that his administration recently enacted the policy, the mayor was Grinch-like.
“If they did in the past they shouldn’t have done it and we shouldn’t have accepted it,” Bloomberg said.
“Unapologetic?” Bloomberg should apologize – for masquerading as a human being.
Bloomberg has switched political parties more often then some people change underwear. First he was a Democrat, then a Republican, now an Independent. What political affiliation doesn’t matter to us as we would take him to task no matter what his alleged political leanings are. Not only that, while he apparently gives a great deal of money to causes, he doesn’t get a pass on this one.
To make matters worse, this appears to be a regulation from some un-elected, non-accountable regulatory boards.
The ban on food donations was made by an inter-agency task force that includes the departments of Health and Homeless Services.
When the government stops people from helping their fellow human beings, the government has overstepped its boundaries by miles.
We would love to see the shelters tell the mayor, the agencies and the rule to take a flying leap into the Hudson River and never return, but that won’t happen. The shelters don’t have the money to pursue a legal case against the City because unlike the city, they are concerned with actually helping people in need instead of erecting barriers.
We know it won’t happen, but we would love it to happen. We would love to see a case like this get in front of a jury and watch the reaction of the city’s lawyers as they are raked over the coals by 12 citizens in the jury box and told what they can do with the regulation.
This is nanny-statism at its worst. It is one thing to get in the way of people who are simply trying to live their lives in peace and freedom. It is another thing altogether to tell that same peace loving, freedom loving citizen they cannot help someone else.
We almost hope Bloomberg gets sick from food poisoning.
h/t to Walter Olson from Overlawyered.