Wednesday, 15 April 2015 00:00

Texas chef facing $2,000 fine for feeding the homeless

Written by Walter Einenkel | DailyKos
Joan Cheever, founder of The Chow Train, puts a piece of bread on a plate given to an individual at Maverick Park Joan Cheever, founder of The Chow Train, puts a piece of bread on a plate given to an individual at Maverick Park Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News

Joan Cheever is a chef. She is the founder of a nonprofit food truck—Chow Train. For the past 10 years, Chef Cheever has served high-quality dishes to San Antonio's homeless. Some say Joan Cheever has a big heart.

Over the years, police officers have passed by and waved as she fed homeless people, but last Tuesday night four bike-patrol officers stopped in the park and gave Cheever a ticket that carries a potential fine of $2,000. Cheever has a food permit for her mobile truck, but she was cited for transporting and serving the food from a vehicle other than that truck.

The citation was given because Cheever brought the hot food from her own car and not a mobile food truck—and while there are good reasons for having food permit laws for mobile vehicles (sanitary considerations and public health), those laws are usually reserved for people trying to sell food. Not provide alms to the poor. It's also a bit disingenuous for the city of San Antonio to someone providing charity to the less fortunate since they have been guilty (as almost all American cities have been) of abandoning the homeless for years.

“We get only 40 percent of our budget from general revenue, and our other funding sources were cut,” said Leon Evans, CEO of the Center for Health Care Services, which provides mental health care for low-income and indigent San Antonians. “We're going to have a lot less money next year, compared to this year. Bexar County has grown the size of a Corpus Christi in the last 10 years, but we still have low per-capita funding. So we're on a rationing system.”

To cut costs, the center recently started automatically placing people who lacked Medicaid on a waiting list. [...]

Among other cuts to Medicaid and CHIP, the health insurance program for poor children, the provider reimbursement rate at hospitals was reduced 8 percent, excluding those for children and rural facilities.

With these kinds of policies, what do you expect a person to do? San Antonio police should pay Joan Cheever for doing work they are not allowed to do and saving the city thousands. Chef Cheever will be fighting the citation.

Cheever is scheduled to go before Municipal Court on June 23, but she remained defiant after receiving the citation, arguing that under the 1999 Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, she has a right to serve food to the homeless because she considers it a free exercise of her religion.

Watch the video below the fold to learn more about what Joan Cheever is doing for the homeless down in San Antonio.

Link to original article from DailyKos

Read 18268 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 23:22