Feeding the hungry is catching on even as rules tighten against it

At Rosa’s Pizza in Philadelphia you can buy a slice for a buck—or, for two bucks–you can buy a second slice for someone who can’t pay for it. The owner keeps track of the available, free slices by putting post-it notes–penned by customers–on the wall.

The notes say things like, “I believe in you” and “I hope this changes your day.”

The pizzeria serves between 50-100 homeless people every day.

Feeding people is catching on.

Robin Hood Restaurant

The Robin Hood restaurant in Madrid, Spain, is booked months in advance. Celebrity chefs stop by weekly to work free of charge. It’s a familiar concept: steal from the rich, give to the poor. Here, paying customers at lunch and breakfast cover the tab for dinner for those who can’t afford it.

suspended coffee catches on

In Naples, Italy, caffè sospeso is a tradition that started around World War II when times were especially hard–but it’s still going strong.  Then, as now, a customer buys two cups of coffee, drinks one and “suspends” the other, paying for a cup for someone who needs it. The coffee shop tosses the receipt for the suspended coffee in a jar, maybe, so it can be pulled out and used by whoever needs it.

The tradition has found its way to the U.S.. There’s even a list of coffee shops that allow customers to buy suspended coffee–in case you’re interested. 

striking teachers make lunches for students

When teachers in West Virginia went on strike to protest wages that were the lowest in the country, first they first got together to pack lunches for their students—often with money out of their own pockets. They didn’t want their low-income kids to go hungry as a result of the strike.

YET…

arrests for feeding people

Six percent of cities have rules that ban food-sharing in public spaces in an increasing climate of criminalizing homelessness.

For example, twelve people were arrested in California last winter for giving out food to the homeless. El Cajon, east of San Diego, has a rule that precludes feeding the homeless in order to stop the spread of hepatitis A.

Atlanta, Georgia, has also cracked down on volunteers passing out food to the homeless, issuing tickets to anyone who doesn’t have a permit. One homeless-activist was arrested; the charges were later dropped.

Should food sharing with the homeless be allowed? Let’s take a look.

Geek out on hunger facts in the U.S..


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