Modesto May Require Permits for Food Trucks Offering Free Meals

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Some grains, some greens, and for many people waiting in line at the United Samaritans Foundation food truck on Monday, the plate of food they got was temporary salvation.

“I really don’t get to buy food. I mean, after paying bills and everything, there’s not much money,” Modesto resident Steve Cook said.

Cook has been living out of his car for about a month and he's one of the hundreds of people in Modesto who depend on free meals.

“It means we get a hot meal, and it’s actually really good food,” he said.

While these food trucks have been serving about 400,000 meals per year. Some city officials are concerned about an increase in trash they’ve seen at city parks.

“The repercussions of that is that our parks have been dirtier than they should be,” City of Modesto spokesperson Amy Vickory said.

A proposed ordinance would require food trucks like USF’s to obtain a permit in order to serve the hungry.

“The ordinance will really help with keeping our parks clean and family friendly,” Vickory said.

But some residents, like Cook, see it as more red tape.

“Just let them ... let them feed us,” he said.

Representatives with the foundation said they’re willing to work with the city and applying for a permit to help people like Cook would be no problem.

City officials are set to discuss the issue at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The possible ordinance is part of an ongoing discussion on homelessness in Modesto.

Vickory told FOX40 that city council may not adopt an ordinance at that meeting. The permit would also be a nominal fee and may be reimbursable, according to Vickory.

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