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‘Tis the Season of Not Giving

Illegal Charities_DonationsHow Regulations Are Making Charity Illegal  

Pop quiz!

Question: Which of the following actions are illegal?

  1. Donating bagels to homeless shelters in New York City;
  2. Holding raffles in South Carolina to raise money for charity;
  3. Providing free dental care to the poor in California;
  4. Distributing eyeglasses to tornado victims in Missouri; or
  5. Armed robbery.

Answer: All of the above.


Yes, it’s true. All of the above are illegal—and none of them hypothetical. So while it’s been said that you “can’t legislate morality,” it now seems that you can at least ban charity.

  • New Yorker Glenn Richter has been delivering free bagels to homeless shelters for 20 years. But a new city edict now prevents him from giving away food because the authorities can’t monitor its salt, fat, and fiber content. The end result—less food (salt, fat, or fiber) for the needy.
  • Because they are considered a form of lottery (and only the state has the right to operate a lottery), raffles have been declared illegal in South Carolina—even when used to raise money for charity. As a result, Lions Clubs across the state have lost more than 500,000 in fundraising dollars intended to provide hearing aids and eye surgery for elderly South Carolinians.
  • A charity called the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps has been prevented from providing free dental care in California or from giving away free glasses in Missouri. Why? Because it isn’t a registered in-state medical provider. This meant that when a tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, in 2011, the group’s optometrists weren’t able to offer victims their professional help.

Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.

Take the case of feeding the homeless. Dozens of cities now have regulations preventing it. In Orlando, Florida, several people were arrested for feeding the homeless in a public park because they didn’t have the required permits. For the same reason, a Phoenix, Arizona, woman was ordered to stop handing out free bottles of cold water during 112-degree temperatures. Though city officials claim they are only trying to ensure that people go to shelters to get better care, critics suspect the regulations are really intended to improve the cities’ public images.

The last thing our government should be doing is standing between public-spirited Americans and those who need help. Yes, economic freedom makes us more prosperous. But by ensuring we can distribute our own resources as we see fit, it will allow us to be more charitable, too.


  1. American says:

    Ofcourse The Democrat led Gov wants this , they want people to be 100% dependant on the gov so they will obey like sheep ! Then they will conform and always vote for them. This is how comunism works, forced depandance ! I prefer Independance !

  2. Ben says:

    So if I were to buy 2 sandwiches and give one away to my friend, could a gov’t official construe that my friend is homeless and therefore the act is illegal?

  3. Snow_Fox says:

    It’s easy to criticize these laws…

    Until someone poses as a charity, put’s razer blades in bagels and some poor homeless person suffers injuries from the “donation.”

    The same people who cried, “THERE WAS TOO MUCH REGULATION!” will in turn ask “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE STOP THIS!?”

    • Tyler Church says:

      really? I am sure glad we banned Halloween too… after all people have placed razor blades in candy before

    • The voice of reason says:

      thats the dumbest thing ive ever herd. Nobody put razors in bagles…. and those of us who scream “too much regulation” dont ask “why didnt anyone stop this” if it means that much to us, We stop it.

    • Putting a razor blade in a bagel and giving it to someone is ALREADY ILLEGAL. It would be false representation.

      Plus, the rightness or wrongness of something is not decided by popular clamor for action. Any society that thinks so is already awry, and that’s putting it lightly. That is the problem of a society led by Jacobins who see their mobs marching in an opposite direction, notice, and seek to learn what has incited them so they can take up their cause and “lead” them. As Margaret Thatcher said, consensus is the absence of leadership.

  4. Basically the government wants a monopoly on giving and charity. That way they can make sure all “charity” goes to the least deserving like bankers and usurers, crackheads, and unemployed baby factories.

    • The problem is in the idea of a single definition of who is “deserving”. After all, some would like to give “unemployed baby factories” charity to disincentivize turning to “baby mills” of a different type, while others would say that empowers broken homes. Who is right? No one entities call.

      • Exaaaaactly! That’s why you keep welfare in the hands of private charities. If you want to donate to crackheads, then you can donate to crackheads. If you want to donate to midwestern small farmers devastated by tornadoes then you can do that. With government monopolized charity, it is one entity’s call.


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