In Raleigh, N.C., a nonprofit group was threatened with arrest last week if it went forward with its weekly plan to feed about 70 homeless people sausage biscuits and coffee at a downtown park.
The Rev. Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministries wrote on his organization’s website that the ministry showed up at Moore Square to pass out food at 9 a.m., as it had done almost every Saturday and Sunday for the past six years. This time, officers from the Raleigh Police Department prevented it from handing out the food.
“An officer said, quite bluntly, that if we attempted to distribute food, we would be arrested, Hollowell wrote. “We asked the officers for permission to disperse the biscuits to the over 70 people who had lined up, waiting to eat. They said no. I had to face those who were waiting and tell them that I could not feed them, or I would be arrested.”
According to news reports, a city ordinance passed in 1998 “prohibits the distribution of food without a permit” in city parks. The ordinance states: “No individuals or group shall serve or distribute meals or food of any kind in or on any City park or greenway unless such distribution is pursuant to a permit issued by the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Director.”
Love Wins is one of several nonprofits that distribute food to homeless in Raleigh, which has no government-sponsored food distribution system. Another nonprofit, Human Beans Together (HBT), was also instructed that it could not distribute food on public property. So HBT moved across the road to private property with the owner’s permission, but police made HBT leave that location as well, according to HBT volunteer Todd Pratt.
More than 50 cities, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami and Oklahoma City, have adopted laws that prohibit organizations from feeding homeless people. This is further evidence statist politicians and authoritarian government functionaries, motivated by a misguided altruism and collectivist mentality, really care little for those suffering under policies implemented by other statist politicians authoritarian functionaries. What they really care about is control.