City Responds to Food Sharing Event Ordinance

Published by The Bee News

October 25, 2022

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BULLHEAD CITY, AZ., October 25, 2022 – A video created by the Institute for Justice about a Bullhead City woman feeding the homeless in City parks is misleading and lacks many critical details. Bullhead City wants the public to fully understand its commitment to the homeless, including feeding of the homeless at the City’s new homeless shelter (The Legacy Foundation Christine Stamper Center for Help & Hope). 

 

After years of complaints from families who desired to utilize City parks, the City Council adopted its Food Sharing Event ordinance (Bullhead City Municipal Code, Chapter 5.36). The ordinance does not stop individuals or groups from distributing food or drink to a homeless person, or any other person, in a City park if the food or drink is, “sealed prepackaged foods readily available from retail outlets and intended for consumption directly from the package.”  

 

If the serving of hot-prepared food is desired, it can be accomplished with a City permit, but requires the demonstration of a food handler permit. The City takes the safety of its vulnerable populations seriously, and works to ensure that the food provided to the homeless, as with other members of the public, has been prepared, handled, and served in a safe and responsible manner. These stipulations are also required of any individual, organization, or business desiring to serve that type of food for a non-social (public at-large) event.  

 

The ordinance does not apply to private groups or family gatherings that do not offer or advertise food available for the public at-large.  The ordinance does not apply to individuals or organizations who serve the food of their choice from private property, such as a church or civic club location.  

 

“Individuals are free to serve food to any homeless person at their place of residence, church or private property. Our ordinance applies to public parks only,” Mayor Tom Brady said.  

 

He further stated, “The City provides funding of $127,000 annually to our homeless shelter. I would encourage all who wish to help the homeless to volunteer at the shelter’s commercial kitchen, where two meals a day are served. The City Council voted to allow our families to peacefully enjoy our parks.”   

 

The City asserts its ordinance is lawful and does not prevent a charitable act from anyone desiring to help others in a city park or assisting others in their own home, church or private property.

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