Tag Archives: charity

Regulation of the Day 179: Giving Food to Homeless People

Last Wednesday, three people were arrested in Orlando for giving food to homeless people in a local park. They violated city regulations that require “groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall.” The rules apply to events that give food to over 25 people; the arrestees fed about 40 people.

Their charitable work could cost them each a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. All three are affiliated with a group call Food Not Bombs that regularly gives meals to homeless people. The Wednesday event that led to the arrests was a deliberate resistance to the ordinance. Hopefully they will succeed in overturning it; the last thing government should do when people try to help each other is get in the way.

Giving Back to the Community

People often refer to their charitable efforts as “giving back.” This is a misuse of language; what did they take? No, they are simply giving. Here’s an excerpt from a classic Don Boudreaux letter:

Dear Ritz-Carlton:

Thanks for your e-mail celebrating your and your employees’ participation in “Give Back Getaways” – activities in which you and your employees (along with some of your customers) “give back to the community.”

Have you taken something that doesn’t belong to you?  If so, by all means give it back!  (But please don’t applaud yourself for doing so.)

Read the whole thing.