Vaughn on We the People’s meals for the homeless: “The health department is forcing well intentioned community leaders to jump through unnecessary regulatory hoops.”

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At the risk of another round of abuse from the omnipresent neighborhood watch, we’ve already had a glimpse at a fresh new controversy, one quite oddly receiving no ink whatever until after Tuesday’s election.

But wait — I thought there aren’t any homeless people in NA, much less a need to feed them.

 … “A grassroots group that provides weekly meals to New Albany’s homeless community could see some changes as it faces issues with the Floyd County Health Department, and organizers are worried about the future of the program” …

Nick has a view on this matter, but before linking you, consider this paragraph from his post.

It baffles me as to just how the Floyd County Health Department has regulatory power over a private picnic. If I were to have a family reunion picnic at a local park, would my family have to prepare our food in a health department-approved kitchen as well? Or would we be allowed to prepare food in our own kitchens at home?

There’s another side to this. As a friend pointed out:

A point can certainly be made that the needy and the homeless also deserve the protection of government. We’ve both eaten at restaurants that have no idea how to prepare and handle food. Imagine what Aunt Gladys’s idea of proper food handling is?

To reiterate, thus far Dr. Tom is pursuing a non-confrontational course in the case of We the People’s meals for the homeless.

Addressing Nick’s question about family picnics, theoretically, the FCHD probably already has the authority to oversee family reunion fare. What it doesn’t have is the cover of political will (thankfully) — or more importantly, manpower or a budget. Those usually come after a precedent for widened authority has been established.

In 2013, the FCHD was making a calculated probe when it suddenly declared its authority to oversee temporary beer dispensing, and to require food handling permits of pourers. It was unrefrigerated tripe, so we at NABC objected, and the Great Beer Pour War of 2013 went all the way to the top of state government before the FCHD was overruled and a new, clear guideline formerly written.

Nope, he never even apologized for the trouble he put us through. 

Had we not fought the test probe, it is likely that health departments across the state would have used the FCHD’s “win” as a precedent to extend their regulatory authority, and by extension, to increase their budgets and manpower.

This same sort of test probing may be what’s happening right now with We the People, and it’s why we should question any such effort to expand regulatory authority by administrative means, absent clarity in law.

Let them serve! by Nick Vaughn (The Aggregate)

Every Sunday, the grassroots group We Are the People of New Albany serves the homeless and those in need of a hot meal at Bicknell Park. Organized by Kim Hunt Payne and Marcy Garcia, the group seeks to feed those who are hungry, give fellowship to those in need, and fill a void left by our local government.

Recently though, the Floyd County Health Department has stated that the group can no longer serve food prepared in separate locations and must instead prepare food in a health department-approved kitchen. Additionally, instead of offering a warm cooked meal the group could also only offer prepackaged food not prepared by them …

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