For more than a decade, students from Loyola College have participated in the school’s Care-a-Van program, providing the homeless two nights a week with meals, such as turkey-and-cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate, as well as toiletries.
But on Nov. 14, a Health Department representative notified the students that they needed a city license to distribute food, and that distribution via a van could not be licensed, since licensing would require on-site hot and cold running water for volunteers serving the food to wash their hands. The college suspended the program, but students rebelled, and resumed distributing food to the local homeless anyway in a nearby park.
Facing a problem with the kind of publicity that might be associated with arresting people for feeding the poor during the Christmas season, city officials offered to compromise.
Under the agreement, the students will continue to be allowed to provide food for two more months, while city officials try to find a more permanent place for the charity work that complies with city regulations, according to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore’s health commissioner.