There are a couple of holiday stories you can expect to see pretty much each year.
One is about people who end up desperately sick from bad turkey.
The other is about givers who run afoul of the bureaucracy.
A story the Associated Press reported out of Wichita this season falls somewhere in the middle, and illustrates why we do have some regulation that makes sense.
According to the AP story, “A Wichita man has learned it takes more than goodwill to feed the homeless.
“David Hill needs a food permit, too. Before police inquired this fall, Hill had been serving hot food every third Saturday for the past two years without any problems.
“Hill, who figures he feeds about 300 people per month and 500 on Thanksgiving Day, said he didn’t know he needed a permit.”
There is a reason, that isn’t all that obvious as long as everything goes OK.
So long as the homeless people don’t end up with health problems, everyone thinks the giver has been set upon by the bureaucracy.
Sometimes the receivers aren’t that lucky, though.
“Kansas Department of Agriculture Officials said the reason for the permit requirement is to make sure food is provided safely.
“‘This particular population can be vulnerable, when they’re homeless and out on the street, so we want to make sure everyone has access to safe food,’ said Adam Inman, education, training and enforcement manager for the Department of Agriculture.
“Inman said there are unique challenges with mobile food services.
“‘Some of the things you take for granted like hot and cold running water in a building, you have to make arrangements to have those when you’re out and about,’ Inman said. ‘So that takes some planning.’”
So, now what needs to happen is the people of Wichita need to get behind Mr. Hill to help him make all the arrangements so the food will be safe.
What should NOT happen is that everyone just throw up their hands and blame it all on the regulations. In this case, they are there for a reason.
Make sure the food is safe. Then give it away. Do what is good and do it in a superlative fashion.
That is the service these poor people deserve. Not having corners cut that the rest of us would not accept.
— Chuck Smith