Food Not Bombs Fights a War With the Houston Public Library

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The saga between Food Not Bombs and the Houston Public Library continues.

The group, which serves vegan food to homeless people four nights a week outside the downtown branch, had its first run-in with the library people about a year and a half ago, a few months before the big renovation was complete.

In January of this year, Houston police told Food Not Bombs they might have to move from the library, then the group met with library officials and a city council woman, and everything seemed to be solved

"We thought it was going to be fine [after the meeting]. It looked like they wanted to work it out through dialogue," Nick Cooper, a member of Food Not Bombs, tells Hair Balls. "I guess that's kind of deteriorated."

On Wednesday night, Travis Kerschan, another member of the group, was one of the first to arrive at the library to set up the serving line, and he says two cop cars were waiting across the street. The officers got out and asked him and a friend if they would be willing to work with the Star of Hope, because "the library didn't want us there."

"The police were really nice and told us we should schedule a meeting with the City Council, so the city would support us," Kerschan says. "I think if it was coming from the cops [and not the library], they wouldn't have let us serve that night, and they would have been more forceful with us."

The officers took Kerschan's phone number and told him that a captain would call him back. Food Not Bombs is planning to serve food in its regular spot, at the corner of McKinney and Smith streets, tonight at 8 o'clock.

According to Blanca Quezada, a spokeswoman for the library, no one from the library made a complaint with the police department that night, and, she says, the library doesn't have a problem with Food Not Bombs serving there, "as far as I know."

We have a call in with Houston police to see if we can figure out why, exactly, the police showed up if there wasn't a problem, and we'll update as soon as we find out. For the sake of the police officers and Food Not Bombs, we're hoping they can find some resolution soon. At least for a couple more months.

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