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City Council… here we come

2012 March 6

As you may or may not know, I volunteer with an organization, Food Not Bombs every wednesday evening. The Houston chapter of FNB shares vegan and vegetarian food with hungry people four nights a week in front of the Houston Downtown Public Library. As a world wide organization we believe that their is plenty of food to go around, if every dollar that is currently spent on war was used to help feed people, world hunger would be nonexistent.

I’ve only been involved for 2 years, but our chapter has been proudly serving Houstonians and visitos alike for 18 years. Although we’ve come across a few angry HPD officers and the occasional fence, due to downtown festivals, we have been pretty darn lucky, and rightfully so.

This week however, FNB (and other community distributors of food to the hungry) have been road blocked. City Council is planning to vote on a new ordinance that would basically criminalize the act of sharing food with homeless people. The details include: all food served must be prepared in a commercial/ licensed kitchen, FNB (along with other groups) would need to register with the Houston Health Department, all food servers would need to complete training through the health department, and so on.

We need YOUR help.

Today, Tuesday March 6th 2012 our group, as well as strangers that feel this new ordinance is absurd, are welcome to support us by showing up at Downtown City Hall to help “fill the room”. The more people that show their support the better. Some of us, including myself, are going to be speaking on the issue from 2-5 pm. If you are not able to show up but still want to help us nix this new ordinance feel free to call and or email city council members:

Helena Brown,  832.393.3010, districta@houstontx.gov
Jerry Davis, 832.393.3009, districtb@houstontx.gov
Ellen Cohen, 832.393.3004, districtc@houstontx.gov
Wanda Adams, 832.393.3001, districtd@houstontx.gov
Mike Sullivan, 832.393.3008, districte@houstontx.gov
Al Hoang, 832.393.3002, districtf@houstontx.gov
Oliver Pennington, 832.393.3007, districtg@houstontx.gov
Ed Gonzalez, 832.393.3003, districth@houstontx.gov
James G. Rodriguez, 832.393.3011, districti@houstontx.govMike Laster
Mike Laster, 832.393.3015, districtj@houstontx.gov
Larry Green, 832.393.3016, districtk@houstontx.gov
Stephen C. Costello, 832.393.3014, atlarge1@houstontx.gov
Andrew C. Burks, Jr., 832.393.3013, atlarge2@houstontx.gov
Melissa Noriega, 832.393.3005, atlarge3@houstontx.gov
C.O. “Brad” Bradford, 832.393.3012, atlarge4@houstontx.gov
Jack Christie, 832.393.3017, atlarge5@houstontx.gov

We are not planning to settle for anything. We believe everyone should have the right to freely share and eat food. Please support us in this cause, as the future is a mystery to us all and you don’t know how this could affect you in the future. Feel free to comment on this post, or directly on the FNB facebook page.

FNB goes to Houston City Council from Dena and Makenzie on Vimeo.

14 Responses leave one →
  1. Rohan permalink
    March 6, 2012

    Below is the letter I wrote to the people you listed. I tried to keep it tame and nice in hopes of being taken seriously. I hope all went well today. Thank you for inspiring me to take action, although it is little in comparison to y’alls efforts. Keep it up.

    ——————————————————————————————–
    Hello ,
    I am writing you in regards to the new ordinance proposal that prevents people from serving food without a license and requiring food to be solely sold from licensed kitchens. While I assume that health concerns are at the heart of this proposal, this proposal should not even be considered a solution. It creates far too many new problems than it solves and it compounds existing problems.

    This ordinance would make it very difficult for charitable organization to feed those in need. Most people involved have full-time commitments to school or work and it is a major sacrifice for them to take the time out to serve the underserved, and they do this all for free. While this ordinance still allows people to give out food to the homeless, you have made the process far more time consuming and an even greater sacrifice. This will essentially discourage many benefactors from taking action against the serious issue of hunger. I am assuming that this is not your intent.

    Why would you want to discourage good deeds? Again, I am not accusing anyone of intentionally making things difficult for charitable organizations, but I am curious to the intent of this ordinance. Was there a food poisoning incident that was so severe that the only way to prevent it from happening again is to essentially criminalize giving away food to those in need? I think it goes without saying that feeding those in need is a service the whole world should be grateful for, for goodness sake. I understand laws are usually geared towards safety rather than laws to guide morals, but this is arguably an objective good. Any person with a shred of empathy, no matter what religion or beliefs, should feel for someone who is hungry. It is a basic human need.

    Any insight to why this is being proposed will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and for listening.
    Rohan D’Souza

    • March 6, 2012

      WOW, i couldn’t have said it better myself. wish you could have been downtown with us today. i think our comments towards city council were taken well – i’ll keep you updated as to what becomes of all this.

  2. sandrada719 permalink
    March 6, 2012

    You are such a compassionate & dedicated person & this makes me so very proud of you!

  3. March 6, 2012

    Go girl! Let me know how yall did!!!

    • March 7, 2012

      well, makenzie and i both had a chance to speak (literally 1 minute on the microphone in front of the mayor and all council members) we got asked questions and, its hard to tell what side each member will take regarding the amendment. Some sort of vote is going to happen today at 9am… so we’ll see how much or am impact we made.

  4. March 7, 2012

    y’all are so awesome! and good people for serious. I hope it went well!!!

    • March 7, 2012

      thanks girl, i am still in shock that we talked in from of the mayor and all of city council. makenzie and i were channeling Parks and Recreation all the way!

  5. March 7, 2012

    Thanks everyone for your support! The meeting went great! I will upload my speech later and let y’all know what the vote is

  6. Sway permalink
    March 10, 2012

    Thank you for taking the time. It’s a wonderful thing FNB does. David will probably be going to speak at the meeting. Fighting the good fight.

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