Michael Bloomberg's New York Nannystate Bans Food Donations

Turning away donated food intended for the homeless is the height of left-wing, bureaucratic arrogance.

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America is rapidly becoming a "Nannystate." In the name of protecting us from ourselves, the government at all levels is taking an active interest in what we eat, where we live, and in all kinds of decisions that seem to be best left to personal choice.

In the latest iteration of "Nannystateism," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the bureaucrats who work for him have now determined that no one be allowed to donate food to the city's homeless shelters on the grounds that it may be unhealthy.

It defies common sense, the idea that an empty belly is somehow healthier than one that contains trans fats, salt, or other food additives the Bloombergers have determined are not fit for human consumption.

[ Joshua Gilder: Science Reporting on Organic Food is Out to Lunch.]

"In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services has recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can't assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans," writes the National Center for Public Research's Jeff Stier in Monday's New York Post .

"A new inter-agency document controls what can be served at facilities—dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat, and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations," Stier writes.  His research, the center said in a release, reveals that there's more to the story.

[ See the U.S. News rankings of the Best Diets.]

"For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife Lenore have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side orthodox congregation. They've brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood," Stier wrote. "The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city."

[Richter] says the beneficiaries—many of them senior citizens recovering from drug and alcohol abuse—have always been appreciative of the treats he and other OZ members bring. It's not just that the donations offer an enjoyable addition to the 'official' low-salt fare; knowing that the food comes from volunteers and from community members warms their hearts, not just their stomachs… So you can imagine Richter's consternation last month when employees at a local shelter turned away food he brought from a bar-mitzvah.

Turning away donated food intended for the homeless is the height of left-wing, bureaucratic arrogance. By relying on the designated food servers with whom the city has contracted to feed them rather than making best use of the charitable impulses of so many of the city's citizens is an example of the outrageous disconnect that exists between the people who run the city and the people who live there. We all know what "the road to hell" is paved with and now, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and his ilk it runs right through the middle of New York City.