Feeding Homeless, Volunteer

Food Not Bombs Defies City Citations, Continues To Serve Meals To Houston’s Homeless Despite Legal Challenges

Since March, the organization has received 80 citations from the city of Houston.

A Houston volunteer charity group has received dozens of tickets from city police while handing out food for the homeless. Shere Dore, a volunteer at Food Not Bombs, relayed to Business Insider that despite receiving the tickets, the organization will continue giving food to those in need.

Food Not Bombs has been handing out food four nights a week for nearly 15 years as an international charity group. They’ve been able to serve vegetarian meals to 150 homeless people who reside near the downtown area. 

Dore explained that since March, the organization has received 80 citations from the city of Houston. The tickets are for Food Not Bombs violating a 2012 local ordinance that “prohibits giving away food to five or more people without permission from the property owner.” 

Dore told Business Insider that they plan on appealing all the tickets, each of which can be as high as $2,000. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told the outlet that Food Not Bombs’ operation is unsafe for “those seeking food, those who serve, pedestrians, and patrons of the library facilities.” Turner wants the group to move to location half a mile from its current downtown location. 

Dore, who’s been with the group for 12 years, says a move would make it more difficult for the homeless population to have access to the food events. So despite what the mayor wants, Food Not Bombs refuses to relocate, Dore told Business Insider.

“We won’t move. So that’s just a given. We’re on public property, we’re on public space,” said Dore, adding that the organization planned on waiting for the mayor’s term to end to hopefully bring someone in who would help them to change the ordinance.

“We’re really not hurting anybody. We’re going out there, and we’re serving people who are hungry, and we don’t believe that we need to ask city permission or government permission to be able to do that,” Dore said.

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