Couple feeds homeless until government intervenes


Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.

That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their “Feed a Friend” effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.

“We don’t really know what they want, we just think that they don’t want us down there feeding people,” said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.

The concern?  Foodborne illness.  Yes, really.

Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.

The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because “poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care.”

Bobby Herring said those rules would preclude them from continuing to feed the 60 to 120 people they assisted nightly for more than a year. The food had been donated from area businesses and prepared in various kitchens by volunteers or by his wife.

The Herrings fed 60 to 120 people nightly who would not have otherwise had food.  Fed because people opened their hearts and home kitchens to feed people. 

No word yet if Michelle Obama didn’t approve of the food choices.

Way to go, government.  You can explain to the hungry folks why they’re still hungry.

UPDATE: linked as one of Pundette‘s “Recommended Reads.”  Thanks!


6 Responses

  1. We encounter this all the time here near an Ivy League university where huge amounts of catered food are left over from events to entertain VIPs. The “leftovers” cannot be sent on the local food kitchen, even by professional caterers whose entire business depends on their ability to handle food safely.

    Next comes the regulations accompanying the Food Safety Act, which threatens even farmers from giving away fresh produce.

    • This is shameful, the waste. I used to have a Panera addiction, back in the teaching days. When pjHusband was deployed, sitting at home grading was akin to death. So I would sit at Panera for the evening–have soup and bread for dinner, free hot tea or coffee refills, and wifi–with piles of papers. I usually closed the place out. The kids who worked there often took pity on me and would send me home with bagels for school the next morning. Here they’re allowed to donate the day-old to soup kitchens. I am shocked that’s not the case everywhere.

  2. This is par for the course in NYC. Even worse, some food *donated* to the homeless is thrown away. Why? Trans fats.

    I read that and cried.

  3. The problem was that they weren’t feeding the government…”permit” and “certified” – code for give us your money!

    • I know. But it bothered me that the couple isn’t going to be *able* to obtain the permits necessary to continue their ministry. And that’s shameful on the part of the government boobs in charge.

      • “The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because “poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care”

        Obama care strikes again – eliminate foodborne illness by eliminating….food! Brilliant!!!

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