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February 20, 2017
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Slovakia: Romani businessman stopped from distributing food to the homeless by authorities

15.2.2017 9:38
Marián Markovič organizing food distribution for the impoverished in Komárno, Slovakia, January 2017. (PHOTO:  Personal archive of Marián Markovič)
Marián Markovič organizing food distribution for the impoverished in Komárno, Slovakia, January 2017. (PHOTO: Personal archive of Marián Markovič)

Marián Markovič is a 37-year-old businessman from Komárno, Slovakia. News server Romea.cz reported on his decision, roughly a month ago, to regularly aid local homeless people and the socially vulnerable.

Slovak news server www.zn.sk reports that his good deed has received many positive responses from all over Slovakia. He has even been invited to appear on TV Markíza's "Reflex" program .

Markovič was able to deliver his aid for just three weeks, though. Local authorities took notice of his volunteer work.

Now Markovič has gotten into difficulties over it. Officials are said to be bothered especially by the fact that he "distributes food without hygienic controls".

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Gloves have not been worn during the distribution and chairs have not been available for people to sit on. "My decision [to deliver food] was very spontaneous," Markovič told news server www.cas.sk.

"I asked my friends who own restaurants if they would want to cook something for homeless people also," www.cas.sk reports him as saying. Several of those restaurants decided to aid the homeless absolutely free of charge.

They began regularly delivering lunch at noon each day together with Markovič. Homeless people are not the only recipients.

Mothers with their children and others who have nothing to eat have come for the aid as well. Residents of Komárno are said to be disillusioned with the local authorities' approach, according to www.zn.sk.

"The authorities failed to notice that this activity is not being undertaken by an association, or a firm, or an organization," that news server reports. "Those kinds of activities are ordinarily audited."

"Marián Markovič's activity is more like a neighbor hosting his neighbors than a public event where people eat," according to www.zn.sk. Neighbors eating meals together are not subjected to any audits or restrictions.

Róbert Králík, the town's press spokesperson, has expressed the local authorities' view of the issue to www.cas.sk. "Homeless persons are already offered both accommodation and food by the town," he said.

"Nobody here is reliant on a businessman distributing food," the online daily quotes Králík as saying. The Nový čas news server reports him as insisting that other business people besides Markovič and his friends are also aiding those in need locally.

adg, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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podnikatel, pomoc, Bezdomovci, Slovakia



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