Jail or No Jail, ‘Outlaw Cook’ Will Feed the Poor
SANTA CRUZ — Sandra Loranger, a self-described “outlaw cook,” sentenced to jail for feeding the homeless, says her incarceration won’t stop her from serving soup and bread to the indigent in downtown Santa Cruz.
“I fully intend to continue making food available to the homeless in this community,” said Loranger, 49, who is to begin serving a 30-day jail term next Thursday at Santa Cruz County’s minimum-security facility for women.
Loranger, an antique store proprietor, was convicted after a three-day jury trial in June of distributing soup at a downtown mall without a permit from the county health department. She was sentenced to a 45-day jail term on Thursday but will serve only 30 days because of jail overcrowding.
During the trial, Loranger admitted she served food to the poor in an open-air mall regularly for almost three months, during which she was arrested four times. At one point, authorities said, Loranger and others involved in “criminal cooking” wore disguises to elude police.
Several other people are being prosecuted since a crackdown began last fall on illegal food giveaways, but the district attorney’s office declined to elaborate on the cases or number of people facing charges.
Loranger, the first to be sentenced on illegal cooking charges, was offered probation as an alternative to jail, but declined.
“Probation requires that you sign a statement that you will obey all laws,” Loranger said Friday. “Well, there’s a law on the books that I take exception to.”
She said her time behind bars would likely be spent working in the jail kitchen, where she could end up serving food to some of her homeless friends who are serving time for violating the city’s outdoor sleeping ban.