Food truck rules frustrate efforts to feed the needy

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham’s food truck business is growing, and it’s already proven to be a hot topic among business owners and city council members.

The city needed a better way to identify food trucks and to know when and where they were setting up. It was an issue that involved public hearings and multiple council meetings, but little did anyone know that the new ordinance would affect local non-profits.

One group has run into problems with the Birmingham Police Department over the last week.

Free hot meals from Bridge Builders Ministries have gone a long way for many, including Cubie, who has worked temporary jobs for the past six years.

“It’s the only meal that you can still go out,” Cubie said.

For the last five years, Cubie and many others like him have come to count on the meals served under an interstate overpass in Birmingham.

Don Williams is passionate about the ministry and the work they do aside from serving up hot meals.

“Not just feeding them a meal, but we assist them in trying to find work,” Williams said.

On Thursday night, Birmingham police tried to stop those people from eating, claiming the group was violating the city’s new food truck ordinance.

Williams was frustrated with the ordeal.

“When is the government going to get off the backs of people who are just reaching out to those in need to try to help them,” Williams questioned. “You take care of those people who are really being bad to me.”

Leroy Moore was present Thursday.

“I didn’t like that. They were talking about running people’s name in and so I l just left like everybody else,” Moore said.

Because of that, he’s one of the few who came back to eat on Sunday.

“The sad thing for me, and it’s just breaking my heart, is that my guys aren’t here,” Williams said. “You know, they have now been scared away, because normally at this time of the day, on a Sunday afternoon at 5:15, I would have 50 or 60 already here.”

On Sunday night, Birmingham police officers arrived again. This time, though, they say it’s just to check things out. The officers added that the city was working on amending the food truck ordinance.

Williams hopes that the changes will be made soon, because otherwise hundreds of others could go hungry.

2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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