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‘No soup for you!’ Health department shuts down homeless outreach

It wasn’t the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld but it just as well could have been. The Kansas City Health Department is receiving harsh criticism for dumping food that was prepared for the homeless Sunday and then leaving the homeless with nothing to eat for the evening.

The group “Free Hot Soup” was distributing the free food at Ilus Davis Park when city workers marched in and dumped all the food. To make sure no food could be eaten, the workers even poured bleach on it.

The group called KCTV5 News and said health inspectors dumped out food, such as bean soup, and told them to leave the parks.

The station reports that for the past three years, Jennifer McCartney has just wanted to pay it forward.

“We got sick of looking and seeing people on the streets that were hurting,” said McCartney.

She volunteers with “Free Hot Soup,” an organization that brings food and clothing to Kansas City’s homeless community.

“We have hats and gloves because it’s cold and they have no home,” explained McCartney.

Some homeless depend on these meals.

“It lifts you up and makes you feel like you can make it,” proclaimed Paul Spicer, a “Free Hot Soup” recipient.

McCartney was shocked when police and health inspectors showed up at Ilus Davis Park where the volunteers were serving a meal.

“There were so many people waiting in line,” voiced McCartney.

A health department official told KCTV5 the group was serving improperly prepared food without a permit. They shut down three locations where McCartney and other volunteers were working.

“They told us we could throw away the meals or they would do it,” pronounced McCartney.

One volunteer took video of inspectors dumping food into plastic bags and said they also poured bleach on it. The health department said that’s normal practice to make sure no one eats discarded food.

Despite what happened, McCartney continued her weekly route with the food she and other volunteers had left.

“We’ve always had a mutual respect. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what happened. It’s ridiculous. We’ve never had this issue ever,” said McCartney.

But, the health department says they had warned “Free Hot Soup” in the past about serving community meals.