Saturday, August 13, 2011

No breakfast for the homeless in Tampa

As the sun rose over downtown Tampa, dozens of homeless gathered in a city parking lot and waited for breakfast.

But for the first Saturday in six years, volunteers had nothing to offer but bad news. Tampa police shut down the meal program last week, saying the group doesn't have a permit to serve food on public property.

"It's crappy, really crappy, coming here and telling these people that 'we can't feed you because someone who hasn't missed a meal in a lot of years says we can't feed you,'" said Doris Lutkus, part of the loosely organized group of church volunteers who have spent each Saturday morning aiding the homeless.

Tampa police Officer Ron McMullen stopped by the parking lot to say the city doesn't want to keep people from feeding the homeless -- it just can't be done on public property.

McMullen said the shutdown is a result of complaints from people in the area who say the homeless who gather to eat end up aggressively panhandling.

Read the Tampa Tribune report here. And see previous post here.


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