Hunters were up in arms after they were informed that their 1,600 pounds of donated meat to a homeless shelter in Louisiana was ordered to be destroyed by health and hospital officials.
In a Fox News article posted on February 25, (and very rarely do I search the site), Health Dept.: Homeless Can’t Eat Deer Meat, Todd Starnes reports how $8,000 worth of venison was deemed not fit for consumption at Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission since a patron complained about eating the deer meat.
The Health Department ordered the staff at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission to throw the venison in the garbage and douse the meat with Clorox to keep animals from eating it.
“Deer meat is not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana,” said a Health Department official in an email to Fox News. “While we applaud the good intentions of the hunters who donated this meat, we must protect the people who eat at the Rescue Mission, and we cannot allow a potentially serious health threat to endanger the public.”
As one could imagine, hunters and the director of the mission were livid, especially given that the shelter has served deer in chili and spaghetti for years.
“That’s a mild statement,” said Richard Campbell, one of the founders of Hunters for the Hungry, a group which has been donating wild game to shelters since 1993. “Hunters are going nuts over it. It’s created an outrage across our state and even into Mississippi.”
Campbell is not the only individual speaking out on the matter.
“This was really good meat,” said Henry Martin, executive director of the mission. “It’s high in protein and low in cholesterol. It’s very healthy.”
“You think we would have due process,” Martin further explained. “But they meant to destroy the meat – that’s for sure.”
To some, this may seem like an isolated incident, but restrictions on donating food to homeless shelters are far too common.
A report called “Feeding Intolerance,” which was completed by the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, explored the restrictions being placed on food donations to shelters.
Even though this study is from 2007, it’s still pertinent given that it illustrates the trends.
While the 26-page report is too long to reproduce, here are the main highlights, which are not limited to these cities.
In 2003, Atlanta implemented a homeless “service provider system.” This system designates eight organizations to oversee all the distribution of food to homeless people in the city. Anyone whom wants to donate food to the homeless, has to go through one of the eight organizations.
A health code ordinance requires every food service facility to obtain a food license, whether the food is provided for a fee or at no cost.
Ordinances in Cincinnati reveal that patrons must obtain a permit for park gatherings of 50 or more. On top of that, the Cincinnati Park Board established a policy requiring any group wanting to undertake “outreach ministries” in a city park must acquire a special permit.
While minimal regulation would be acceptable, it seems as though with what occurred in Louisiana, New York (with Mayor Bloomberg creating new rules on donations) and the various cities in the report, it’s seems as though government entities could eventually contribute to socializing individuals out of giving.
Hopefully, laws can be changed to reflect the generosity of private charities.
“I think a lot of cities have the misguided notion that when people give food to homeless individuals where they’re living, that somehow that’s perpetuating homelessness,” said NLCHP lawyer Tulin Ozdeger.
“Cities are making [homelessness] worse by essentially discouraging what private resources are out there to help solve the problem,” Ozdeger also stated.
“Cities don’t have enough resources to deal with the issue, so they should be looking to other resources,” Ozdeger said.
Edited by End the Lie
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