Crossroads residents, KCPD discover piles of trash left by food truck used to feed homeless

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Crossroads District had a big mess on its hands.

Police said they found trash everywhere around the bridge at 20th and Oak streets on Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for Kansas City police said it's leftover food rubbish -- styrofoam plates, cups and rotting food -- provided to homeless people by a Salvation Army truck on Tuesday. That truck, according to the Salvation Army, delivers meals to that location three nights per week.

A nearby business operator said messes like this happen often.

"The trash from them eating was left, and it's blowing all over the neighborhood," said Jeff Owens, Crossroads Community Association vice-president.

Owens said residents and merchants complain frequently about well-intended nonprofits that deliver meals, but fail to clean up after their homeless clients. Police and city inspectors said they weren't sure if the Salvation Army and other nonprofits could be cited for doing this.

"There's plenty of places, brick and mortar, where the homeless can go and eat and keep everything controlled. When you come out to the public right-of-way and feed folks, there's no accountability for the trash or anything," Owens said.

Kansas City Police Officer Andy Hamil, a community interaction specialist in the neighborhood, said he's never seen such litter from a food truck. Hamil added that business owners feel powerless to prevent this kind of trouble.

"I understand their passion and their motivation for what they do. I respect it, but you can't leave this. This is absolutely ridiculous," Hamil said.

Doug Donahoo, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army, said that truck makes 8-10 stops per evening, including 20th and Oak. In a statement sent to FOX4, Donahoo said the nonprofit aims to be a good neighbor while providing relief to people in need.

"We leave a trash bag at each stop and encourage people to clean up after they`re done eating. We have offered and returned to pick up trash bags and provide additional assistance cleaning up when contacted by the community," Donahoo said in a statement via email.

Sure enough, late in the afternoon, our FOX4 cameras spotted a Salvation Army employee who'd been sent to 20th and Oak to clean up. Donahoo said that man collected eight bags of trash.

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