Several local charities asking community to not feed the homeless on Thanksgiving

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There are many informal setups to feed the homeless in downtown Fresno. Veronica Lopez and her friends wanted to lend a hand too.

"We are from Fresno, we are doing it out of the kindness. We like to help out people when we can," said Lopez.

The charities just down the street that serve meals to the homeless every day inside their dining halls have issues with this kind of help.

"We really just want to educate the community on what it means when their folks are coming out here and they are serving and how the meals that Poverello is providing and also the Rescue Mission is providing as well, how some of those meals may go to waste if all these feeding groups are out here," said Cruz Avila.

Don Estes, of the Fresno Rescue Mission, says the homeless can get more than food when they come inside for a meal.

"And gives us the opportunity to connect with those people on the street and get to know them as opposed to just serving them on a paper plate and just walking away," said Estes.

The Fresno County Health Department has concerns, about the garbage left behind on the street, and about the safety of the food being served.

"We would always urge caution from eating out of somebody's trunk, people have good intentions but the truth is when you are making large amounts of meals out of your home or out of a facility that's not really set up for that it's hard to keep the food at the right temperature. For the right amount of time. Foodborne illness is something very real," said Wayne Fox.

The Rescue Mission invites folks who want to help feed the homeless to bring their food to the mission.

"What we want to do is collaborate with any of those that want to feed, that want to serve, they can bring their food, they can prepare it to deliver it at our facilities," said Estes.

Convincing those who want to help, is not easy.

"There's a lot of people that don't get fed and they don't get full, so I don't think there's nothing wrong with that."

Folks on the street, like Doug Jackson, are grateful for the extra handouts.

"I think it's a blessing everybody out here gets a little bit of something because different people bring out different things so everybody gets what they want you to know," said Doug Jackson.
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