There’s a growing epidemic in this country that very few are talking about - ostracizing the homeless. All across this nation, more cities and towns are passing laws that are specifically meant to target the homeless in an effort to drive them away. I first wrote about an ordinance in Pensacola, Florida that banned people from using blankets or newspapers in inclement weather. Then there was the pastor in Oneonta, Alabama who was told that he could only feed the homeless if he purchased a $500 permit. Not to mention the state of Nevada (among others) dumping the homeless onto buses and sending them off to other states so they don’t have to deal with them.
Well, the state of Florida has struck yet again, fining a Daytona Beach couple $750 for the awful crime of feeding the poor. It seems Daytona Beach has an ordinance that bans people from serving food in public.
Every weekend for more than a year, Chico and Debbie Jimenez have been feeding the homeless as part of a Christian outreach group they run called Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word Ministry. According to their Facebook page they were approached by 5 police officers and charged with 2nd degree misdemeanor charges for feeding the homeless – and they were banned from the park.
Police Chief Mike Chitwood said of the incident, “The ordinance is there, so if we catch you, we’re going to cite you. If you want to feed people, and you want to do a good, Christian act, we encourage you to coordinate with the social service agencies.”
So apparently now to be generous and help those who are in need, you must first coordinate with local social service agencies or face paying hefty fines.
As if it isn’t bad enough being homeless, now they’re being targeted by local governments in a clear attempt to eradicate them from many cities and towns all across this country. It’s absolutely disgusting.
Instead of passing laws, or creating more programs that might actually help many homeless individuals find a home, these cities and towns are choosing to make life even more difficult for those who are already suffering a great deal.
It’s a sad day in this country when two people, doing what they can to help the most needy among us, are fined $750 for trying to feed the hungry.