Charity is a beautiful thing that everyone tends to support, regardless of creed or partisan slant. However, there is a strange concept of “forced” charity that both Republicans and Democrats try to enforce in their own various ways. Whether it is through entitlements, bailouts, or pork spending, some in government think that their involvement makes everything better, but in reality, those good intentions more often than not have adverse consequences.
In a press release issued by the California based charity Deliverance, the non-profit organization which has helped thousands of homeless individuals and those in need, announced that as of January 31st, 2019, the organization will cease to exist. Because of the added requirements and regulations by state entities, Deliverance was no longer capable of maintaining their current operations while at the same time trying to stay afloat as they were drowned by red tape and other expenses thrown at them by the state of California.
Deliverance noted the main difficulties they encountered in their statement:
The San Diego Department of Environmental Health established requirements for LSCFOs [Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operation]. If an organization is distributing prepackaged, non-perishable food, or whole uncut produce, no action is required. However, if the organization wishes to prepare food for distribution, the LSCFO must register with SDDEH [San Diego Department of Environmental Health] and follow established best practices as set forth on their website.
The primary change for Deliverance is the requirement that no food may be prepared in a volunteer’s home, which has been our primary method of food preparation. The Board of Directors discussed options for utilizing an existing food prep facility, but due to the distributed nature of the organization, this option would prove to be cumbersome and perhaps only a short term solution to the problem. As a result, Deliverance, San Diego can no longer prepare hot meals for distribution to the homeless population of downtown San Diego without incurring significant logistical and financial costs.
So instead of allowing volunteers to make food in their homes and bring it to those who didn’t have food nor a home, the SDDEH decided it was too risky for all parties involved, thus giving them the grounds to craft the rules and regulations which caused the premature death of this charitable organization.
Across the country, there are many cases of state and local governments arresting people for giving food to the homeless. So the question is, in an absence of a private, voluntary exchange between consenting people, what is left? An impersonal welfare state that treats recipients like cogs in machine or numbers on a computer instead of flesh and blood human beings.
If the government can create laws that restrict free people from providing a home cooked meal to the homeless, what is there to stop them from crafting a law that prohibits me from giving a pan of brownies to a neighbor? Or an office potluck where everyone brings a meal? This example might sound exaggerative but this whole situation creates a slippery slope for more state intervention in consensual and voluntary exchanges.
While the intentions of the regulators might be good, the homeless and needy probably would prefer a free meal instead of going hungry.