In wake of storm, NYC still policing food

Monday, November 19, 2012
Russ Jones (

First it was Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in New York City, and then it was new dietary guidelines used for city-run hospitals. Now, Bloomberg's decrees are keeping desperately needed food away from Hurricane Sandy victims.

Thousands of people still remain homeless in New York City since Hurricane Sandy ravaged The Big Apple. But now, Mayor Bloomberg's ban on food donations to homeless shelters, issued in March, is directly impacting hurricane victims.

LeBon, Cherylyn Harley (Project 21)Cherylyn Harley LeBon is co-chair of Project 21, the black leadership group of The National Center for Public Policy Research. She laments this unfortunate effect.

"Although he passed this in March, it's become even more relevant and sort of crucial, because we have images and we see people dumpster-diving," LeBon relays.

"I mean, people are really suffering. In fact just this morning, someone on Fox was in Staten Island saying I can't send my kids back to school because we have no hot water; we have no heat. People are not even functioning with the basic necessities of life."

LeBon further suggests that regardless of sodium and fiber content, which concerns Bloomberg, non-perishable food items can be the difference between life and death in crisis situations.

"I think that Mayor Bloomberg just does not have the right priorities," the Project 21 co-chair offers. "In an effort to be PC, he's once again moving the citizens of New York City down this nanny state path."

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeless Services has stood by Bloomberg's food policing initiative.

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