Oh my goodness, just watched our local news and they did a story on a local woman that makes cakes (out of her home, I am assuming) and gives them to kids free. I am enclosing the link to the story here.
There is also another page that you can go and find out more about helping the "cake lady" if you wish to donate supplies.
They may have just unknowingly gotten this lady in trouble with the health department. I so want to call her and talk with her but don't want to seem like a busy-body or "afraid of competition". Oh my, any suggestions...should I just leave it alone? I certainly did not like being fined by the HD.
Doesn't sound like she is selling the cakes. If that is the case, then I don't see how she could be fined (obviously unless she sells cakes and does this on the side).
They can't fine her if she's giving cakes away.
She should be fine. If it's done for not-for-profit, it's exempt from business licencing laws.
I think what she is doing is wonderful!
I agree it is a wonderful thing that she is doing but on the other web page...she does mention that she does accept donations of any kind...and if I am correct, that is considered compensation.
Please do not think that I am wanting to cause trouble for the cake lady. That is the furtherest thing from my mind. I believe that ALL children deserve a birthday cake esp. when times are hard. I will just leave it at that and wish her well. Thanks for the input.
Oh no, you're fine! You mean well and it's a valid concern. It's hard to tell sometimes what sort of things fall under which law or legal definition because there's just so many on the books and everything has stipulations and exceptions. (I had to take two years of business law for my degree and I currently work as a legal admin.) You don't want to see her getting in trouble for trying to do something positive. You're a good person for thinking of her well being like that
As for the legal stufft: Donations are different than profit. She is performing a community service, and donations are not mandatory. There is no bill of sale, and all donations go right back into the charity, in this case in the form of cake supplies. Now, if she demands donations for every cake and then pockets all the money to use it as a primary source of non-taxable household income, then she'll get into trouble. She doesn't appear to be doing that however, so she's protected.
She can still be shut down by the Health Department. The Health Department is there to protect the health of the general public. That includes free foods. Even soup kitchens get inspected.
Most Health Departments clearly state permits are required for giving away food:
"Any person, who handles, prepares, serves, sells, or gives away food for consumption by persons other than his or her immediate family."
"Events where food is given away to the general public does require a Health Permit."
The laws vary from state to state. In my state the health department can't do anything to you if you're not selling cakes for profit.