11/25/2012

"Bloomberg banned food donations to homeless shelters"

Mayor Michael Bloomberg in March instituted a ban on food donations to homeless shelters. 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 what he deems to be appropriately healthy meals.
. . . 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. . . .
More more recent nuttiness from the New York Daily News.
. . . Bobby Eustace, a firefighter out of Ladder 27 in the Bronx, has been serving free hot food to the homeless and displaced and to relief workers and volunteers in Breezy Point, Queens, since two days after the hurricane hit. 
On Sunday, Eustace and dozens of fellow firefighter volunteers served 800 free hot meals from a steamy Army tent in this hemorrhaging beach community, where there are no longer stores or restaurants, where most people have no gas to cook with, no heat or hot water and no hot food. 
That afternoon, a freon-blooded inspector from the city’s Department of Health issued Eustace a notice of violation for not meeting the same food-handling standards as, say, the Four Seasons. . . .
Some comments are of interest are available here.

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