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Madam Speaker, I want to tell you about a good work that's going on in Houston, Texas. It's a program that is not sponsored by the government. In fact, the government is not involved in this project at all. It all started 15 months ago when Amanda Gayle and her mother, Linda Gayle Lee, decided they would start going from Humble, Texas, my hometown, to downtown Houston, about 30 miles away, and start feeding the homeless, and so they fix hot meals for the homeless. They go out to downtown Houston in a remote area of that city, and they feed those people every night a hot meal. And they've done it for 15 months.
I call this Amanda Gayle's Kitchen. And they are feeding the homeless--not just the homeless, but I believe these are the rejected homeless. These are the homeless that can't get into shelters. They don't live in shelters. They have all kinds of physical, emotional, and mental issues, and they live on the streets of Houston, Texas. And every night for 15 months, they've fed about 100 of these homeless individuals with a hot meal.
A couple of months ago, the Houston Police Department came to where they were feeding and told them they needed to move to another location, the police department suggested the location, and they moved down the street; and every night they feed the homeless. In fact, now they bring them blankets and sleeping bags because of the winter.
Amanda Gayle is now married to a preacher, Trey Herring, and he has continued this network of feeding the homeless and clothing them every night. They have networks all over the Houston area, some in a different county, where this hot food is brought in, cooked in kitchens, and they feed the inner city. It's an organized effort, they enjoy doing it, and it's something that's important.
But on December 30, even winter for Houston, the health department came in of the City of Houston and said, you can't do this anymore, because you don't have a permit to distribute food. And, you also cooked this food in a kitchen that is not certified by the City of Houston. The health department said the poor is susceptible to disease, so we're going to shut you down.
Like Amanda Gayle said, the health department would rather they go hungry, eat out of dumpsters, than to get a hot cooked meal from somebody that doesn't have a certified kitchen and doesn't have a permit to distribute food. In fact, the City of Houston cleanup crews have gone through this area and taken the sleeping bags and the blankets away from these individuals. Of course Amanda Gayle and her kitchen folks continue to supply them with whatever they need.
Amanda Gayle and Trey Herring have both tried to contact the health department. They have received no answer about why they were shut down and how they can reopen. Because, see, they want to follow the law, they want to do the right thing, but they want to help these people that they feed every night a hot meal that they don't have access to from some government program.
This is a perfect example of the phrase that no good deed goes unpunished and they are punishing this good couple for what they're trying to do. I believe if the City of Houston had been around when the good Lord fed the 5,000, they would have tried to prohibit that good work since he had no permit to distribute food or hadn't cooked those two fish and five loaves from a certified kitchen. They would have closed him down, I'm sure.
Government is the problem here and government should help these people help people. All they want to do is feed the hungry every night. I'm not sure there's anybody in the House that would do this. But they do it because they want to help people that are in need. So I hope the City of Houston will figure out a way to let Trey and Amanda Gayle and those other people in Amanda Gayle's kitchen feed the hungry, clothe those that need to be clothed, and take care of those out there on the street that are there not by choice but because of circumstances. And the City of Houston needs to figure out a way that the government is not the problem but help this good couple do this good work and let them continue, together with the city, to make sure that certain people in our city, Houston, Texas, are taken care of every night.
And that's just the way it is.
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