With a long line of homeless and hungry people waiting to be served a meal prepared and donated by volunteers of Free Hot Soup Kansas City, multiple officers and the KCMO Health Department arrived on the scene. The group was ordered to stop serving food.
The food was then thrown away and the health inspector poured bleach over it to ensure it was not consumable.
Picnic Or Community Meal
Free Hot Soup Kansas City has been serving food to the homeless community for over three years. They stress that they are not a charity – just neighbors feeding those that are less fortunate. Volunteer Brandy Herrera stated, “We serve food every Sunday for about an hour and have a picnic with our friends.” The group feeds anywhere between 100-300 people, every Sunday.
Many members are outraged about the incident, calling for Mayor Sly James to step up and speak out. He did just that on Monday although I don’t think it’s the response they were hoping for.
The Mayor issued a statement saying, “We have received a number of questions regarding the incident involving City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department and Free Hot Soup. While the group’s good intentions are appreciated, any organization distributing food to the public MUST abide by health standards and guidelines that are in place to protect the public from food-borne illness.
Those rules do not change whether someone is experiencing homelessness, or attending a charity cook-off. Many organizations in our community abide by these standards, and we thank them for their work.”
What’s Next for Free Hot Soup?
Despite the incident, volunteer Jennifer McCartney and founder of Kansas City Heroes, took what food the volunteers had left and continued her weekly route. Some of the volunteers stated they would apply for a permit but maintained that what they are doing is no different than having a picnic with a large group of friends.