Brunner ... plans Sept. 6 event.
Brunner ... plans Sept. 6 event.

The man honored in 2011 by York City's mayor for his humanitarian work is now questioning Kim Bracey's insistence that he pay $35 for a permit to give away food at a September event.

Bobby Brunner said Bracey has waived the fee for previous events.

But, Brunner said, a representative of the mayor's office told him Monday he must pay the fee to distribute donated food at Albemarle Park on Saturday, Sept. 6.

"I think it's a crock," he said.

Brunner founded nonprofit Neighbors Helping Neighbors in 2009 after a fire displaced 61 families from their homes on Chestnut Street.

Since then, he's hosted events all over the area. He usually spends months collecting donations of every type — clothing, food, toys, cleaning supplies, furniture, etc. — and then hosts giveaways.

Brunner received the York Humanitarian Award at Bracey's 2011 State of the City Address.

Brunner has planned the Sept. 6 event, which he's calling Summer Fest, in collaboration with York First Assembly of God. It's scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Shady Maple of Lancaster County donated a truck of food for the event, Brunner said.

But, Brunner said, he can't give the food away unless he first pays for a permit. That's what Deb Busch, executive administrative assistant to Bracey, said, according to Brunner.

"She said the city's cracking down," he said.

Recently laid off from his job, Brunner said he's living on unemployment checks.

"It's not the $35. It's the whole principle," he said.


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On Wednesday, Brunner said he accepted $35 donated by "a lady that probably couldn't even afford it" to cover the cost of the permit.

"She wanted to teach her 5-year-old that there is good and you help when there is good," he said.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Busch declined to comment.

"I prefer the mayor talk to you," she said.

Bracey did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Brunner said he's "super upset" and probably won't schedule as many events in the city.

"But all city residents will be invited," he said.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.