Last August, the city of Columbia, South Carolina approved a new plan to give its homeless population an impossible choice: leave downtown or be arrested.
The city is now taking even more steps to criminalize homelessness. On Saturday, it will begin to strictly enforce an old and seldom-used ordinance requiring groups of 25 or more to obtain a permit and pay a hefty fee before congregating in a public park.
One impacted charity that was interviewed by the Free Times, Food Not Bombs, has been serving food to the homeless in Finlay Park every Sunday for 12 years. The group’s organizer, Judith Turnipseed, noted that the group has an impeccable track record and always tidies up after the meal. But with the new crackdown, Food Not Bombs will have to pay at least $120 per week for the right to feed the homeless, an extremely tall order for a group that’s not even an official 501(c)(3) organization but just serves out of the goodness of its heart.
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On Sunday afternoons for more than 20 years, volunteers with the nonprofit Food Not Bombs (Sacramento) have passed out free vegetarian meals to hungry, low-income Sacramentans at downtown’s Cesar Chavez Plaza park.
This month, however, city police interrupted the organization’s feedings and informed volunteers that giving away free meals is illegal.
(foodnotbombs.net) We can not thank you enough for your support. It is so amazing to see so many people come together to help with Sandy Relief. This is a critical time to help as the media moves to cover other events there will be a danger that the ongoing emergency will fade. We saw this after Katrina. Please consider becoming a long term Food Not Bombs volunteer helping with our groups on Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan. Our volunteers are preparing huge amounts of food but the need is so great we could use more donations and help. There will be many hungry and cold people struggling for many more months so your help is urgently needed.
You can help Food Not Bombs provide food and logistical support for the survivors of Sandy.
(foodnotbombs.net) Help us cook at 9:00 AM Wednesday to Friday at:
Park Slope Community Church
251- 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215-3919
Saturday and Sunday November 10th and 11th we will be cooking at the YWCA at 3rd Avenue and Atlantic at 9:00 AM
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 516-668-2116 Or for more information visit www.lifnb.com/
Staten Island Food Not Bombs chapter. Tompkinsville Park – Bay Street, near Victory Blvd. Please call 646-474-4713 for exact location.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 15, 2011
FOOD IS A RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE
Sharing food with the hungry is an unregulated act of kindness.
End all efforts to stop people from feeding the hungry.
Rescind all laws restricting compassion.
“THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO GIVE OUT FOOD, THERE IS ONLY GIVING OUT ALL THE FOOD YOU CAN”
- Kathy Mitro who posted a petition on line after being threatened with arrest for sharing food in Daytona Beach. Florida in January 2012
On Sunday April 1st, we are proposing that people all over the world consider sharing free meals in celebration our right to food and participate in our campaign for an end to laws restricting acts of compassion. Celebrate our right to feed the hungry with music, theater, and the sharing of food.
It has been distressing to receive so many reports in the past few weeks of people being threatened with arrest or cities adopting new laws limiting people’s right to share free food with the public. People in England, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida contacted Food Not Bombs about having been threatened with arrest. Others report that their local governments are considering laws to limit acts of compassion.
This new wave of threats is happening as half of all Americans are struggling to survive. The Department of Agriculture’s February report shows that 46,286,294 people relied on food stamps in November of 2011. People have been arriving at Food Not Bombs meals claiming they had not eaten in four days because other food programs had exhausted their resources. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 1 in 7 people or 925 million people world wide went hungry in 2010. We are announcing a global campaign to recognize that sharing food with the hungry is an unregulated activity of compassion and should not be interfered with by the authorities. Continue reading