March 22, 2012

Are you one of those kind-hearted people with a nice little garden, more veggies than you can possible eat yourself who takes the time to drop off your extras to the local homeless shelter? Or perhaps you have your own little bakery or grocery store, and you gladly take your day olds to the homeless. If you live in New York City, your generosity is no longer welcome, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has banned food donations to the homeless.

You knew that the mayor was one of the one percent, but how could he possibly be so cruel to those most in need? The details from the video above from CBS Local News:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s food police have struck again!

Outlawed are food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
But Mayor Bloomberg, a salt-aholic himself, was unapologetic.

“For the things that we run because of all sorts of safety reasons, we just have a policy it is my understanding of not taking donations,” Bloomberg said.

Told that his administration recently enacted the policy, the mayor was Grinch-like.

“If they did in the past they shouldn’t have done it and we shouldn’t have accepted it,” Bloomberg said.

Imagine that, people freely sharing their bounty with their fellow man. Bah, humbug!

More on this via Laura Clawson at Daily Kos:

There's obvious paternalism at work here, though it hasn't been directed only at homeless people; Bloomberg has made a priority of food health and safety initiatives directed at all New Yorkers, and has been met by significant protest at times. But that's probably not the only motive here. Horace Boothroyd III suggests we should follow the money, and indeed, city shelters use institutional vendors to prepare the approved foods. What, one wonders, are the wages and working conditions at those vendors, and what are the profit margins?

Meanwhile, as Sarah Jaffe points out, Bloomberg's commitment to making sure even homeless people have access to nutritionally balanced foods doesn't extend to asking grocery delivery service FreshDirect to accept nutritional assistance benefits or deliver to the poor neighborhood where its new taxpayer-funded facility will be located. So there's definitely reason to ask under what circumstances poor people's access to nutritious foods becomes an actionable priority for Bloomberg.

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