SAN ANTONIO, TX – A chef in San Antonio, Texas, has been using her nonprofit food truck, The Chow Train, to feed the homeless for years, but this week local police cited her with a $2,000 fine for breaking the city ordinance.
Chef Joan Cheever told a local NBC affiliate that police told her what she was doing was illegal, “and it’s against city ordinance.”
Ms. Cheever founded The Chow Train in 2005 to help fight hunger in her community.
“You can’t just turn away from your neighbor when they’re in need. We don’t do that in San Antonio,” she told the station April 10.
Ms. Cheever takes hot meals to Maverick Park outside downtown San Antonio each Tuesday and says she typically will serve anywhere from 25 to 75 homeless people.
The officer who issued the ticket told Ms. Cheever that if she wanted to feed the homeless she would have to bring her food truck to the park. Ms. Cheever, who has a certified food manager certificate, had packed the hot meals in her pick-up truck, arguing “restaurants deliver take out delivery,” the station reported.
Ms. Cheever plans to fight the ticket in court and says regardless of city rules she is protected by the United States Constitution to exercise her freedom of religion.
“One of the police officers said, ‘Ma’am, if you want to pray, go to church,’ and I said, ‘This is how I pray. When I cook this food and deliver it to the people who are less fortunate,” Ms. Cheever said.
Ms. Cheever is due in court on June 23rd. She plans to continue giving hot meals to the homeless in Maverick park on Tuesdays until then.
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