By Pablo Jaime Sainz
All Agustín Lugo was trying to do was help needy families by giving away free bread.
“People know that I have loaves of bread available for them, so they come to me looking for something to eat, because sometimes they don’t even have money for food,” said the 68-year-old Lugo.
He would stand at the intersection of 18th St. and Highland Avenue, in National City, and he would deliver the free bread he gets from organizations such as Consider the Poor Ministries.
“I do it from my heart, because I like helping people out,” said Lugo, who’s originally from Puerto Rico.
As many as 100 people get free loaves of bread from Lugo each week, and he gives out from three to up to five loaves of bread to each person.
“If I have more I give them more,” he said.
But on July 8, while Lugo was delivering the bread to the poor at the same spot he always does, an inspector for the County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health gave him a notice of violation: He needed to stop giving away free bread because he doesn’t have a health permit to do it.
Agustín Lugo left with boxes of bread that he is now unable to give away
Although the notice treats Lugo as a business owner and his cause as a business, Lugo said he doesn’t sell anything nor does he get any money from this.
“I’m only doing charity as a Christian man, just like Jesus would,” said Lugo, who has been involved in charity work for the last 40 years, also delivering clothes and food to Tijuana poor colonias.
The notice of violation states that Lugo is in violation of “Section 113920 of the California Health & Safety Code, and Section 61.110; San Diego County Code of Regulatory Ordinance. Operating a food facility or conducting itinerant food vending without a valid health permit.”