From Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray’s e-newsletter, which came over the transom on Monday:
Waste Not OC
Working to End Hunger in Our Community
Last week, I met with the founders of the Waste Not OC Coalition. Waste Not OC is a public-private partnership with the sole mission to end hunger in Orange County. In Orange County, 379,960 individuals are at risk of hunger every month and 1 in 5 children are not receiving the food they need.
Fortunately, our community of residents and businesses are coming together to dedicate their time, resources, and energy to ensure that food is available and accessible to those in need. Waste Not OC is reaching out to local organizations, hotels, restaurants, the resort area, and the City of Anaheim to facilitate the donation of surplus food to local food banks and pantries.
Every year, 36.31 million tons of food is wasted in the United States; much of which would have been donated to the hungry if it weren’t for the fear of liability. With the passage of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, businesses, organizations, and individuals that donate food are now protected from legal liability that may arise from their donations.
In an effort to get the message out that food donation is okay, Waste Not OC is working with the County of Orange to train and educate businesses on the myths of food donations and how to properly handle donated goods. Click here to get the facts to know when donating food.
In February 2014, Waste Not OC will be launching a city-wide Anaheim food recovery program partnering with and identifying participating restaurants, grocers, and businesses. Participating donors in the pilot program will receive a Waste Not OC sign to display in their window identifying them as a partner and will be featured on an interactive map at www.wastenotoc.org. Donations received from the Anaheim pilot program will go to supply the over 200 food pantries and food banks currently existing in Orange County.
As we continue to celebrate this holiday season, let us not forget our neighbors in need.
Click here for the interactive map of food pantries in Orange County and please help us share this amazing resource with anyone you know that may be in hunger or interested in helping with this cause.
My family and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Mayor Pro Tem
City of Anaheim
Kris, thank you for publicizing this effort to combat hunger. May I ask, what are you (the city) doing about chronic homelessness in Anaheim? The anti-sleeping, anti-camping approach just criminalizes homeless people and pushes the problem on police but does nothing to provide safe areas where people can sleep without bothering others. I understand why residents with homes nearby parks are upset, but people need a place to live. How can people work together with the city to help?
Glenn, from my own perspective, I would answer you this way: why is it the primary duty of the city? [and if I mistook your meaning, I apologize.]
The city has a positive duty to ensure the public can enjoy its public parks. The positive duty to help homeless people is falls to individuals, churches and voluntary associations. The city can help by clearing away, within its power to do so, any regulatory and legal obstacles to that help being given.
By that standard Matt, one could just as easily say that there is only a positive private duty (and no public duty) for parks, public schools, fire departments, or the Department of Defense. A more reasonable standard is to provide some public funding and also use the “bully pulpit” of government to lead where voluntary association alone fails. The mortality rate among the chronically homeless is extremely tragic. Criminalizing homelessness is a status crime and is unconstitutional and immoral. These are real people and they are dying. I am hoping that the City of Anaheim steps up (along with individuals, religious groups, charities, etc. as you suggest). Churches alone have not been able to solve the problem.
Comparing the city building and maintaining a physical facility like a public park with the city trying to solve a complex human problem like homelessness – the causes of which vary from person to person — is like comparing apples to oranges (and that is an understatement).
I’m not downplaying the tragedy of homelessness, but it is most definitely not immoral or unconstitutional to prohibit camping in a public park.
I don’t disagree that local government can play a supporting. enabling role. And it is entirely proper for local elected officials to use the prominence of their office to encourage the involvement of their fellow citizens. But government shouldn’t assume the role of leader in these instances, because to the extent government leads, private individuals tend to hang back and wait for others to do the work. We, as a country, have become entirely too accustomed to expecting government to “do something” about the material condition of people. If government could solve poverty, it would have done so long ago considering the staggering amounts that have been spent on anti-poverty programs since the 1960s.
Is Kris Murray out of town? My question, “How can people work together with the city to help?” remains.
You might consider communicating your question directly to her, rather than hoping she’ll see it in a blog comment.