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Local Florida Government Shuts Down Food Truck Giving Meals to Hurricane Survivors

All the man wanted to do was give those who survived Hurricane Irma’s journey up Florida’s cost some food, but local bureaucracy stopped that.

In mid-September, Jack Roundtree, owner of Triple J’s BBQ, drove his food truck to downtown Green Cove Spring, Florida to hand out free hot lunches to nearby residents and utility workers trying to get the power restored.

But his effort did not last long, according to reports from Clay Today, a local news site. Instead, city managers forced Roundtree to close his shop because he did not have a permit to operate in the community – even in the aftermath of a hurricane that left many people with no food, shelter or transportation.

One local resident chimed in on Facebook after seeing police officers telling the Triple J’s BBQ owner that he had to leave:

According to Reason, Green Cove Springs Mayor Mitch Timberlake said Monday he didn’t consider Roundtree’s effort “a good Samaritan situation.” If the food truck’s operators had contacted city officials beforehand, he said, there would have been a different outcome.

“He is a commercial food truck operator, and he knows the local ordinances for food truck operation and had a responsibility to reach to the city to get a permit for what he wanted to do,” Timberlake said. “We don’t prohibit food trucks. There are times and places where we welcome them.”

It seems strange that weeks after devastation from a hurricane would not count as one of those “times and places” the city would “welcome” a food truck.

In another situation in Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, one woman was “astonished” when the Red Cross reportedly blocked her from giving 400 hamburgers to evacuees in need of food.

Eventually, those burgers were handed out to Harvey survivors, according to Red Cross national spokeswoman Jenelle Eli, who spoke to the fact-checking website Snopes about the matter.