SANTA MONICA—Steve Petramale of Santa Monica has been advised by city officials to cease serving the homeless at Reed Park, ABC7 News first reported.
Petramale and his 11-year-old son has been feeding the homeless since May 2018. The family self-funded the organization FamilyFood.us which feeds over 100 homeless individuals a variety of foods including; ribs, pizza, beef brisket, Brazilian chicken, and stroganoff every Sunday.
Santa Monica City Manager, Rick Cole stated in a letter to Mr. Petramale on August, 7 that hot meals violates state, county and city regulations for temporary food facilities in public spaces. He also conveyed resisting policy results in citations for misdemeanor violations.
Neighbors filed complaints concerned for crowded parks, and lack of space for various activities.
The city suggested two locations in Santa Monica to serve the homeless listing venues including The Salvation Army and Step Up on Second which charges a $1,000 fee to setup. Petramale explains he cannot afford the expense.
Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer for the city of Santa Monica provided the following statement to Canyon News via email.
“The City of Santa Monica has a community wide commitment to addressing homelessness that is focused on keeping Santa Monica residents housed, increasing access to behavioral health, promoting safe and healthy public spaces, and strengthening regional capacity.
While the City is supportive of Family Food’s altruistic efforts to feed the homeless, compliance with laws and regulations focused on protecting public health and safety is critical for everyone. We have worked with Mr. Petramale over the last several months to identify how we can meet shared goals, while also advancing the City’s goals of connecting people experiencing homelessness with supportive services to get them housed.”
Family Food Us is asking volunteers to serve and visitors to donate through their GoFundMe page. The organization mission, “We are dedicated to improving the lives of those in our community. Your contribution today helps someone get a hot meal.”
“We provide quality meals for anyone who needs something to eat. ALL FUNDS GO TO PURCHASING FOOD AND SUPPLIES. Any size donation is greatly appreciated and will bring a huge smile to many,” states the FamilyFood.US GoFundMe page.
William Merecka posted the following comment on the GoFundMe page:
“Steve keep up the great work!! I know how good it makes me feel when I help people out with my fundraiser’s….. And I know it makes you feel the same way. Best of luck. Billy M.”
Petramale’s plans to continue the mission serving the homeless every Sunday at Reed Park will be suspended until further notice.