Philanthropist Joan Cheever has been serving the city’s homeless population out of her Chow Train truck as an act of charity for the past decade. But on Tuesday, four bike-patrol officers stopped her and cited her for distributing the food in Maverick Park.
Cheever has a food permit for her mobile truck, and police officers had passed by and waved to her handing the homeless food on several previous occasions.
— WorldStove (@WorldStove) April 16, 2015
So why give her a ticket this time around? Police say, for "transporting and serving the food from a vehicle other than the truck."
Cheever’s municipal court date to fight the Class C Misdemeanor is scheduled for June 23. Her defense: under the 1999 Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, she has the right to serve food to the homeless as part of her freedom of religion exercise.
"This is how I pray," she told the local NBC affiliate, "when I cook this food and deliver it to the people who are less fortunate."
The Chow Train founder will be holding a candlelight vigil at Maverick Park Tuesday night to raise awareness about the incident, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
— The Chow Train (@TheChowTrain) April 16, 2015
Cheever has also announced that she’s starting a fund to support the continuation of her mission.