Kathy Hay with the Institute for Justice

51,738 supporters

Started 1 petition

Petitioning Asotin County Board of Health

Let Me Reopen My Little Free Pantry!

Like so many Americans right now, I know what it is like to worry about feeding my family. When I needed help most, my community of Clarkston, Washington was there for me. Thankfully, I’m back on my feet and I want to pay that generosity forward. That is why I built a “little free pantry” to allow my neighbors to help one another. Little free pantries are like little lending libraries, except instead of books, they allow neighbors to exchange fresh vegetables, canned goods, and other foods with one another. For the first few weeks, things were great. My neighbors that had food to share left it in the pantry, helping dozens who needed it. No one complained, but that didn’t stop the county health board from showing up and shutting it down. They told me that I had failed to fill out a stack of paperwork and pay an annual fee.  They also told me that even after I finished the paperwork, I still could not share fresh produce or bread.  To add insult to injury, they sent me an additional invoice for nearly $3,000 for the cost of enforcing their laws against me. No good deed goes unpunished, it seems. Feeding America reports that the nation’s food banks are facing a “perfect storm.” Thankfully, Americans are rising to the challenge and converting their little lending libraries into little free pantries. Local governments, for their part, have largely taken a hands-off approach. And yet, a handful of county health boards—including my own, the Asotin County Board of Health—the seem to believe that paperwork and process are more important than charity. I believe that Americans have a fundamental right to help one another. That is why I’ve partnered with the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit, public interest law firm to challenge Asotin County’s senselessly unconstitutional regulations.

Kathy Hay with the Institute for Justice
51,738 supporters