San Antonio Woman Fined $2000 For Feeding The Homeless

Tyler Durden's picture

Based on the newsflow in the last few weeks, Americans must increasingly consider themselves lucky just to avoid getting shot in the back or being run over by trigger-happy, heavily armed officers of the law. Unfortunately while we (hope we) mostly jest, the reality is that America has quietly turned into a heavily weaponized police state right under everyone's noses. A police state in which one doesn't have to be considered even a remote threat by the authorities to suffer. Consider the completely innocuous act of feeding the homeless, with a permit, which as San Antonio philanthropist Joan Cheever, founder of the nonprofit food truck, the Chow Train, discovered last week was enough to get her ticketed and fined $2000 for feeding the homeless.


What is strange is that neither was this the first time she had acted generously toward the homeless, nor the first time the local police were aware of her actions: for the past 10 years, Cheever has devoted her Tuesday nights to providing hot, restaurant-quality meals to homeless people in the downtown area. SAPD officers would routinely pass by and wave. Often, she jokingly asked if they planned to arrest her, and they laughed. She was profiled on Rachel Ray's cooking show for her charitable efforts.

But everything changed last Tuesday when he got a citation which carries a fine up to $2000 issued by four San Antonio Police Department bike-patrol officers.

According to the San Antonio Express News, while Cheever was in Maverick Park serving a meal that included lamb meatballs, spaghetti, a garden salad and a vegetable soup, SAPD officers cited her for violating the city code, because she transported the food to the park in a vehicle other than the mobile truck for which she has a food permit.

"I told the officer that we cook dinner in the truck and then we put it in health-department-approved catering equipment, like every caterer or restaurant-delivery service in this town, and then serve it. And he said, 'You can’t do that.’"


David Martin Davies, host of “The Source” on Texas Public Radio, witnessed and recorded Cheever’s Tuesday night encounter with the police officers.


“She seemed aware going into it that there was a change in the way the police were acting, and something like this might be coming,” Davies said, adding, “She’s unabashed. She’s not going to back down.”

Cheever is scheduled to go before Municipal Court on June 23, but she remained defiant after receiving the citation, arguing that under the 1999 Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, she has a right to serve food to the homeless because she considers it a free exercise of her religion. 

"This is how I pray," she told the local NBC affiliate, "when I cook this food and deliver it to the people who are less fortunate."

The Chow Train founder will be holding a candlelight vigil at Maverick Park Tuesday night to raise awareness about the incident, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

What may explain the police's sudden aggression to the philanthropist? According to Express News, the incident is merely the latest incident in a series of homeless crackdowns by the local police.

Over the past year, it’s become increasingly obvious that the city wants its homeless population out of the view of downtown tourists. It wants to push the homeless west of downtown to Haven for Hope, and discourage any acts of compassion that might divert them from that destination.


Last September, then-Police Chief William McManus floated the idea of making it a Class C misdemeanor to give cash to local panhandlers, an example of municipal overreach that met with scorn from the public and was abruptly dropped.


Express-News reporter Benjamin Olivo also reported that benches had been discreetly removed from Houston Street because city staffers worried that the benches led to loitering and panhandling in the area.


“(The city) has already made being poor and homeless a crime,” Cheever said, “and now they’re going after Good Samaritans.


“I always say, 'We’re not working against Haven for Hope, we’re working with them.’ They have a waiting list, and they send their people over to us, and we feed them.”

In a statement by the SAPD, the local police noted that “Haven for Hope is the city’s designated service provider for the homeless population,” and added that Cheever’s citation “was issued for failing to adhere to the Downtown Mobile Food Truck Rules & Regulations. The regulations are in place to ensure public health and safety.”

Perhaps the biggest irony of all is that under the current administration's policies, which have been called socialist by many and are precisely meant to improve the standard of living of the 99% not the 1%, Obama has been eager to demonstrate his emapthy toward the disenfranchised if only in front of the teleprompter. What is sad is that a "progressive" president, one elected precisely to promote acts of philanthropy and kindness (with the Fed funding the cost via trillions in debt monetizations) concurrently allows this kind of behavior by those tasked with enhancing the quality of life for all, not just Goldman's or JPM's rogue traders.

Then again, talking out of both sides of his mouth is perhaps the least of Obama's faults.

Meanwhile, here is Joan Cheever in less troubled days.

From left, volunteer Elaine Olivier, founder/ Chef Joan Cheever, and her husband, Dennis Quinn, prepare dinner before the Chow Train feeds the homeless in partnership with Resurrection Ministries, Tuesday, February 28, 2012.


Joan Cheever, founder of The Chow Train, puts a piece of bread on a plate given to an individual at Maverick Park on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Cheever and other volunteers have cooked gourmet-level meals to feed the homeless and the hungry for years. The non-profit group serves meals at various locations around San Antonio and recently served up a Thanksgiving meal to feed the needy. Cheever primarily does the cooking of all the food which she gets from donations.


Ray Salines dines on a plate of feed at a stop by The Chow Train off Austin Highway on Tuesday, Nov. 19 2013.


Joan Cheever (center), founder of The Chow Train, coordinates getting plates of to be served at a location near Austin Highway on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.


Patrick Harris eats a meal from the Chow Train off Austin Highway. Joan Cheever, who founded the nonprofit food truck, and her team offer free, gourmet-style meals to feed the homeless and the hungry.


Chow Train volunteers Shannon Murphy-Sachanowicz (center) and Diane Sharp (right) fill up bowls of soup to serve at a location off Austin Highway on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.

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ebworthen's picture

Fucking bicycle cops giving a middle-aged Woman a $2,000 citation for feeding homeless people out of the back of her S.U.V.!?!?

What have we come to?  Can't you fine officers look the other way?  Guess you want some new bikes or something.

Where has the common sense gone?  Where is the sanity?  Where is humanity?

That Woman and her friends have it, but not the cops, the courts, or .gov.

Looney's picture

Thank Goat! She didn’t get shot in the back 8 times! ;-)


tarabel's picture



He meant Lucifer.

Fukushima Sam's picture

WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with feeding homeless people!?!

tarabel's picture



In my world, nothing.

But I don't live in San Antonio and didn't vote for the "Progressive" hypocrites who thought this up.


zaphod's picture

Rich progressive liberals love homeless people, as long as they are far far away.

knukles's picture

See, this is exactly where we wind up with a buncha fucking Progressives in charge.  They want to close her down so that the state takes over as sole warder for the poor and starving.
See, she prays and is therefore, fucking dangerous.
The End of Days, the Banishment of Evil, is starting to make sense.  We'll bring our very own own hell upon Earth right here to ourselves.

COSMOS's picture

You keep yapping about the cops but you dont consider the source of the laws.  The politicians!  You will get no change on the streets unless you kick out the assholes in office who make these laws.  Had the laws not been on the books there would of been no issue here.

JLee2027's picture

That's a well fed cop for a bike handing her the ticket. A true pig.

Muddy1's picture

I was thinking the same thing, well fed, as in FAT pig.  The bike riders I know are as thin as a bean pole.  Then it occured to me, steroids.  Gotta get beefed up to write a ticket to this woman.  Furthermore... it takes FOUR, 4, IV, cops to write this citation????  I wonder what would have happened if she would have handed each cop a plate of food?  She is lucky they didn't seize her SUV and kitchen equipment under the current police trend of "asset forefiture".

Maybe the govrnment doen't like the competition.  They have created a dependent lower class with nearly 50 million people on food stamps and want to keep the dependency and control going.  This woman is sharing her time and wealth with others and has cut out the middleman of the government and acted with kindness on her own.  She has put her money, and her physical labor where her heart is.  Kudos to her. 

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

First off, I would sue for harrassment and improper citation, as The State needs to prove that any of the people she fed are indeed "homeless".

Feeding cops is an interesting suggestion. She should set up a "Law Enforcement Appreciation Meal" table, and give away meals for free. She can then sue the police for vagrancy or some similar infraction.

Hobbleknee's picture

You act like voting works or something.  Wake up.

Colonel Klink's picture

Disgusting what government control has become!  Through government's actions, or should I say INaction, more people are becoming poor.  Now they criminalize charitable action.

The truth is evident.  They want control of everything and you reliant on them for all.  For with those, they control the people.  Remember the words of our founding fathers, when government fears the people there is freedom.

New Kid's picture

This is part of their plan.

1. Criminalise the homeless and those who try to help them.

2. Impoverish the middle class so that they become homeless.

3.Put everyone who is homeless in FEMA camps... cause thats the law.

turnoffthewater's picture

Well someone that lives in SA needs to go to city hall and get a permit for a donkey.


knukles's picture

The Mexican night clubs can't be too happy about that one!  Call the ACLU!

Global Observer's picture

But I don't live in San Antonio

Even in San Antonio it doesn't appear to be anything wrong with feeding the homeless.


Contrary to what the title says, the woman was cited not for feeding the homeless, but for transporting cooked food in a vehicle other than the one she had permit for (those details are found in the content of the article). Should people be required to get a permit for a vehicle to transport cooked food for distribution/delivery to others? That is the only question that is raised by this action of the San Antonio police.

ILLILLILLI's picture

So it does...


In a statement by the SAPD, the local police noted that “Haven for Hope is the city’s designated service provider for the homeless population,” and added that Cheever’s citation “was issued for failing to adhere to the Downtown Mobile Food Truck Rules & Regulations. The regulations are in place to ensure public health and safety.

New Kid's picture

Right. Because safety is their only concern.

If a charity does some trivial wrong, you let them off with a warning... at least the firat few times.

tarabel's picture



"I told the officer that we cook dinner in the truck and then we put it in health-department-approved catering equipment, like every caterer or restaurant-delivery service in this town, and then serve it. And he said, 'You can’t do that.’"

Like this beetle-browed sidewalk nazi is a past master of the arcane local food service regulations.

And like the cops rigorously enforce every single law, code, and regulation they see being transgressed upon.

But, as the defendants desperately claimed at Nuremburg, he "was only following orders."


FrankieGoesToHollywood's picture

The officer was "following his training"

tarabel's picture



I am aware of what the title and the article both say.

The only question that I can see is that of guessing the date when the volcano of public outrage blows rather than merely fulminates.

You failed to indicate where you personally stand on the question of requiring a (no doubt paid) permit for someone to provide limo service for free lasagna. Or on the question of dragging well-meaning citizens into court while probably tens of thousands of San Antonio residents walk around with active warrants.

But there is danger and no money in catching actual crooks. Far better and much safer to shake down the law-abiding middle class people who have the money to pay their fines and court costs. Probably took four of them to slap the metaphorical cuffs on this dangerous menace to society.

StychoKiller's picture

If I were her, I would insist on a trial by a Jury of my peers, then read into the record what Jury nullification means during the trial!

Element's picture



WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with feeding homeless people!?!


She was showing worrying signs of actual unsolicited charity. It had to be stomped out before it spread and infected human affairs or we'd soon be overrun by people with sense of right and wrong which could quickly cause the downfall of the advanced world. It's for the best, who were later seen congratulating and encouraging the police to keep up their tireless vigil against good will and other subversive acts. 

NoDebt's picture

Don't get in between government and their subjects by competing with them to "help" people.  How can the government make people utterly dependent on them otherwise?  When you fuck with their monopoly you will end up dead, penniless or in prison.

tarabel's picture



The universal madness takes hold all around the globe.

A remnant of the faithful will resist them and be driven into the darkest corners of the earth, but will eventually win. Sadly, that day is a long way away.

"The whole world united shall not prevail against her."

NoDebt's picture

"The whole world united shall not prevail against her."

Oh, come on now.  I'd give it at least a 50/50 shot that all of us together could take down Hillary Clinton.

nailgunnin4you's picture

Clueless Red/Blue-fixated posting will win you few friends on here.

nailgunnin4you's picture

No way nodick was one of the downvoters here, seeing as I am quoting him. I guess 2 people disagree with him.

Weaponized Innocense's picture
Weaponized Innocense (not verified) NoDebt Apr 16, 2015 10:44 PM

Hillary ~ Hit her head real bad!
Poor Hillary can't control the crowds !

She hit her head real bad!

(Jack Nicholos)

Poor Hillary!

Weaponized Innocense's picture
Weaponized Innocense (not verified) Weaponized Innocense Apr 16, 2015 10:51 PM


nailgunnin4you's picture

Hey, if Jack wanted us to get his last name right he should not have been born in the same century as Jack Nicklaus.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

A goat is just as sensible as a great invisible grey bearded skyman. Then again, a goat can't listen to your thoughts and watch what you do whereas something completely invisible that floats in the dark reaches of space that has a long grey beard can, I've been told.

Humans are fucking insane. Humans in government, humans in military, humans running corporations have one type of insanity. All the plebs who dedicated their lives to patently cock-a-mammie stories and believe in invisible skyman have a different type of insanity.

Either way, we are all fucking insane.

Parrotile's picture

You have really got to wonder whether this may be the reason why the many reliably-reported UFO visitations are so very secretive? Do "They" regard "Us" as very much "Short Bus" material, and a Planet whose populace should be avoided at all costs - since they are "The Crazies of that part of the Galaxy"??

We have (and continue) to fight major conflicts / all-out wars over "My God(s) is/are better than Your God(s)",

We only co-operate if "we" can gain a significant advantage - "Competition" (which certainly wastes limited resources) is preferred,

We lavishly reward nepotism / corruption / dishonesty, whilst heavily penalising honesty / effort / charitable acts e.g. - this very article??

So, if "you" represented a space-faring community (presumably technologically advanced, since you have the capacity for safe, reliable and maybe rapid interstellar travel), would you really want to associate with a "Global Community" that spends more annually on killing than feeding / clothing "their" populace?

Would you really want to risk the possibility that this "Community" might have ideas re. "their Conquering Space" - the same "Space" you (and presumably other similarly advanced, similarly peaceable, Communities) presently populate??

Is this the real reason for lack of contact? "They" know just how bad "we" are, and so "They" intend to avoid us like the plague we literally are??

Crawdaddy's picture

Do you really believe that? I hope not. Many are lost in the fake world created for them - a world formed by minions of Edward Bernays. Look it up my friend. Find the truth. Nothing new under the sun

shovel ready's picture

How the fuck did she get out of being tasered!

Cops probably saw whomever it was with camera taking pics.

Don't worry everybody - they'll get her. Your freedoms will be protected even if they have to shoot every one!

unicorn's picture

dont worry, these cops will soon be eaten by these homeless hungry men and women

nuubee's picture

I thought the cops were the zombies in this case. They certainly need brains.

Ward cleaver's picture

EB to answer your question, empathy, sacrifice, heard work, patriotism, common sense, communities helping each other, manners, and all other things that made this a once great country have been replaced with a dog-eat-dog society where having the latest igadget is more important. I'm glad I'm 60. Just sad

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Sheeple are SO easy to bamboozle. 

Don't confuse Pretext with Agenda: "To condition the Sheep into letting them know Who's In Charge."

But keep chasing that bouncy, shiny, chewy, noisy ball. Sit, Ubu, sit!  Good dog.

Parrotile's picture

I suppose this is what you mean -

Never forget, "Fools and their Money are Easily Parted"

Peak Finance's picture

It's not the cops this time.

Believe me this order came from up on high

Some local important business owner or local management board got pissed at the homeless congration around the food trucks and bitched to the cops until they decided to do something.

This shit has been happening down here in Florida a lot as the people in the richer areas try to drive out the homeless.

Refuse-Resist's picture

Because "I was just following orders" is ok and an accepted legal defense.


That works for now, but one day they may sing a different tune.

Jumbotron's picture

Fascism on Parade.

Nothing to see.....move along.

jaycephus's picture

It always disgusts me to see cops writing tickets and then saying that they are serving the community, rather than admit the truth that they are simply serving as a tax collector and nothing else. But it is clear that this happened because the mayor or someone in SA govt simply wants to hide the homeless from the tourists.

nuubee's picture

Again, when you see virtue punished and vice rewarded, you know your society is doomed.

Shizzmoney's picture

The amount of dgaf these ppl continue to show is outstandingly brasin.

nuubee's picture

Also, I think this is the first time ZH has made me hungry, most times it just makes me sick.

BoredRoom's picture
BoredRoom (not verified) nuubee Apr 16, 2015 5:49 PM



Feeding stray cats leads to more stray cats....