"We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry, to criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith"
Fort Lauderdale, FL -- Police in Fort Lauderdale recently shut down a charity operation at Stranahan Park, because they were breaking a newly implemented law against feeding the homeless.
Local news sources reported that at least three people were written tickets, including a 90-year-old charity worker who has been feeding homeless people for over 20 years.
According to Arnold Abbott, one of the charity workers who was serving food, only three or four meals were served before the police ordered them to stop. The group had planned to distribute over 300 meals throughout the day, but they were forced to pack up their food just as they were getting started.
"We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry, to criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith," Rev. Mark Sims, of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs said.
The new laws went into effect just over a week ago, during a heated town council debate where a number of activists and homeless advocates pleaded their case against proposed ordinance.
The new rules impose strict limits on outdoor feeding sites that charities set up on public property.
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Local politicians have defended the ordinance, saying that the charities encourage homelessness.
"I'm not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in city of Fort Lauderdale. Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive," Mayor Jack Seiler said in a statement.
This particular park has become a battleground for homeless advocates and police in recent years, with many charity efforts being violently broken up by police.
The video below was taken at a prior raid at Stranahan Park earlier this year, before the new ordinance was even passed:
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.