Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Feeding the homeless
becomes a movable feast

The food was still hot, nutritious and tasty even though it was served from the hood of a car rather than in a park.

Photo by Food Not Bombs

The homeless and the hungry were fed tonight in downtown Orlando.

This time, the movable feast took place on the sidewalk of Pine Street in front of the Sanctuary Downtown, a pricey* high-rise condo building. One block down, around the corner and partway down the next block apparently was far enough from Lake Eola Park that the city couldn’t call the food-sharing site adjacent to the park.

Last week, when Food Not Bombs served meals from the back of a van parked just a block from the park, the police – armed with a fresh interpretation of the “large group feeding ordinance” from the city attorney – said the sidewalk there was adjacent to the park. The ordinance restricts the distribution of food in 42 of the city’s 99 parks “including adjacent sidewalks and rights-of-way.”

The people of Food Not Bombs vow that the sharing of food will continue.

Meanwhile in Las Vegas: A new city law that makes it illegal to feed homeless people in parks violates free speech, free assembly and other civil rights, says a federal suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada. Read more here.

A nationwide trend? More and more cities are cracking down on mobile soup kitchens -- especially those stationed too close to established neighborhoods or high-rent districts. In addition to Orlando and Las Vegas, Dallas has established “feeding zones” in outlying parks and people who feed the homeless have been chased from public parks in Atlanta and Venice, Calif. Read the Christian Science Monitor report here.

* The Sanctuary Downtown’s website lists condos available at prices ranging from $598,000 to $1.29 million.


At 8:48 AM, Blogger GB Hoyt said...

Hi Jackie,
No prollums yet, not likely to be any. I've always made sure to pick up after ourselves, and listen to the police. They keep me better informed than the council, and since legislators can't write tickets ;) I've never paid them much mind anyway. Since the area where we meet is apparently part of the "Ample space" the city has provided for the giving of services (it's where the police said it's ok to meet), I don't anticipate any trouble. Thanks for the copy of the law!

At 1:32 PM, Blogger 123txpublicdefender123 said...

It is sad when the government makes it a crime to feed hungry people. I remember Jesus saying something about, "When I was hungry, you fed me, but only in the city-approved feeding zone."

At 3:45 AM, Blogger That Guy said...

It's hard to imagine that it could ever be made illegal to care for the people our society has chosen to ignore.

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