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Raleigh Identifies New Site For Downtown Food Distribution

The city of Raleigh hosts the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival this weekend.

Charities in Raleigh could soon be using a vacant warehouse across from Moore Square to distribute food on weekends. 

City staff members submitted that recommendation this week.  The city came to the agreement with local charity groups after volunteers said this summer police threatened to arrest them for handing out food. 

A city ordinance prohibits food distribution without a permit, but charities said they had been doing it for years on the weekends when soup kitchens are closed. 

Assistant city manager Dan Howe says many business owners also supported the agreement.

"What we're looking for in this facility is a place where anybody who's needy and wishes to partake of this food can feel like they can come there, fell comfortable, feel safe, and I think the business community really supports that," Howe says.

"We're going to bring people in from all over the community to try and get organized, paint the thing, get it cleaned up, bring in some bathroom facilities, bring in some hand-washing stations, and buy a few tables. Hopefully, we'd have that up and running within about three months or so, and we'd try to fill in the gap on the weekends by opening this facility up."

The city council still has to sign off on the recommendation.  Howe says council members could consider it at a meeting next month.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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