On Sundays, local community members come together in Pioneer Square to give food to the homeless, but not everyone is happy about this. Run by Food not Bombs, the group holds unpermitted feedings, and its the lack of permits that has some residents riled up. From the January minutes of the Pioneer Square Residents Council they report:
Mike Klotz, our neighborhood SPD West Precinct Advisory Council (WestPAC)…reminded us that the people providing the food are not following proper food handling practices and that the population that they are feeding often have compromised immune systems.
The meeting minutes also report Klotz said “food and litter left on the ground following the feeding attracts rats, pigeons, and seagulls.” However, the workers at Food not Bombs see things a bit differently:
An estimated 26% of edible food is thrown away every year in this country. Meanwhile, people go hungry, eat inadequate meals, and STARVE. Seattle, Inc. largely ignores the growing numbers of homeless people sleeping in its streets while prioritizing streetcars and the profits of billionaires over the needs of real people.
Food not Bombs also contends their feedings are protected by a United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself (sic) and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
Whatever the legality may be, the police aren’t having it, and are “reminding the food providers that they are not allowed to continue to operate in Downtown” the minutes read. Klotz recommends PSQ residents take photos of license plates of those providing the feedings. The PSQ Residents Council according to the minutes support the “SPD and Parks Department actions.”
(Note – the figure most often reported in most studies is 45 percent of edible food is discarded. )