Sunday, January 16, 2011

New HHS Motto to be "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"?

I haven't been able to follow the news as closely as normal the past two weeks due to lack of a computer. I just happen to have gained permission to use the one I"m on now, at least for today. Ah, well, not that it matters. While I was searching for stories to rant and rave uncontrollably about, I find this little gem.

The story, in short, involves a couple who, with help from various volunteers in Houston, Texas, have been helping to feed a group of homeless people in their hometown at their own expense, including time and money. Apparently, however, Heath and Human Services, Big Brother's ministry for dealing with, ostensibly, healthy lives for all of us Americans, has deemed that the couple is not allowed to serve the food that they serve, unless they have Big Brother's permission in the form of a permit. A spokesman for HHS put it like this:

Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.
The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless, Barton said, because "poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care."

A permit? Really? Why on Earth would anyone need a permit to serve food to the homeless? Barton goes on to explain that the regulations are "absolutely essential, especially in the case of the homeless" because they are more susceptible to food borne illness. Is this true? Maybe. I haven't done the research so I don't know for certain. What I do know is that these people were doing a good thing and have now been punished for it. Note, also, that ever popular Big Government narrative that the food must be prepared in "a certified kitchen with a certified food manager". What the heck? What qualifies in their mind as a certified food manager? What, for that matter, qualifies as a certified kitchen? When did everything we eat, cook, and drink come under the purview of Kathleen Sebelius and her government lackeys?

Oh, apparently the location they were on is on city owned land. Still stupid, stopping the homeless from getting help just because they don't have a pretty little piece of paper that gives them permission from on high, but it does prove one thing: the bureaucratic morass of insanity is what gummed up these works, not any maliciousness on the part of anyone that I'm aware of. What really gets my goat, though, is that according to the article these people had been doing this for over a year and only now are the suits getting involved. What took them so long? If it was such a horrible thing wouldn't someone have told them to stop long before this?

Fortunately this isn't the end of the help that the family involved is giving to these people. Even now they're searching for a way around the wall of red tape they've run into, perhaps working through a local church or another such thing.

Here's to hoping they find what they're looking for.