A Texas food truck chef was cited for giving out food to the homeless, but she’s fighting back in a brilliant way – using her state’s Religious Freedom Act.
Joan Cheever, a San Antonio chef who owns and operates the Chow Train food truck, has reportedly been giving free meals to homeless people every Tuesday for years.
“You can’t just turn away from your neighbor when they’re in need. We don’t do that in San Antonio,” she told News 4 San Antonio of her long-standing mission to help feed the hungry. For almost as long as she’s had her truck, Cheever said she sees anywhere from 25 to 75 homeless people every Tuesday.
On one recent Tuesday, Cheever was suddenly issued a citation by a police officer. In response, the chef told the officer that he was violating her freedom of religion.
“One of the police officers said, 'Ma'am if you want to pray, go to church,'" she told reporters. “And I said, 'This is how I pray, when I cook this food and deliver it to the people who are less fortunate.'”
According to the city of San Antonio, the reason for issuing a citation was because Cheever did not have the proper permits to operate a mobile food vender.
“The citation was issued for failing to adhere to long-standing regulations that are in place to ensure public health and safety,” city spokeswoman Thea Setterbo said.
Cheever said she plans to dispute her ticket and the $2,000 fine on the grounds that it violates her religious freedom, and is scheduled to appear in court on June 23.
“I just can’t believe it, giving someone a meal is a crime,” Cheever said.
Despite being unable to operate her truck, Cheever said she would continue to feed the homeless at her local park every Tuesday as she has for years.
Photo Credit: mysanantonio.com