Mayor Michael Bloomberg in March instituted a ban on food donations to homeless shelters. No, not because of food contamination, but because the city can’t properly assess salt, fat and fiber in donated food and thereby ensure starving people are getting the optimal levels of nutrition. Can’t have dumpy-looking homeless people on the streets! We knew Bloomberg was a health nut, but maybe he’s just anti-food? Maybe put this one to a vote — it’s hard to imagine what harm fresh soup and bagels (two items that have already been turned away) could do to a hungry person.
So much for serving the homeless.Also be sure to check out:
The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.
In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.
For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife, Lenore, have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side Orthodox congregation.
They’ve brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood. (Disclosure: I know the food is so tasty because I’ve eaten it — I’m an OZ member.) The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city.
DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond says the ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers. A new interagency document controls what can be served at facilities — dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.
The city also cites food-safety issues with donations, but it’s clear that the real driver behind the ban is the Bloomberg dietary diktats.
Fascist Food and Nutrition Nazis
Fat Tax: The Socio-Economics of Obesity