November 16, 2005
by: jovial_cynic
I contacted the Washington State Department of Health and talked to somebody in the Environmental Health unit about what steps I'd need to take to be able to distribute food to the homeless downtown. She sent me a lengthy PDF (over 100 pages!) but pointed me to 3 specific pages that I needed to read. Apparently, a permit is not required for me to distribute food, but there is a list of things I need to do in order to set up a food stand. Most of it is regarding sanitation and health, which is perfectly understandable. Good times!

My only concern is now is creating redundancy. In Olympia, there is an outfit called "Bread and Roses" that gives out food. I don't know what their hours of operation are, and I don't know if adding another food donation organization in the area will create an issue. I can't imagine it being a problem... but I'd have to find out.

The current plan is to build a stand that has enough room in it to do some food prep - things like ham/cheese sandwiches, soups, rice, etc. I'd like a framed stand big enough to hold a propane stove, sinks, etc., but also small enough to be managable; I'm going to have to tote this thing around! Maybe something I can set up with pins or something...

Also, for the sake of my wife and children, it would probably be a good idea to have a location where I can park our motorhome - my wife and kids will probably come along, and it'd be nice for them to be able to go and rest, along with other volunteers that would be helping out.
np category: charity


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