A California city is facing criticism after the town reportedly decided to stop a church from feeding the homeless.
City officials reportedly contacted the Malibu United Methodist Church via email and asked the church to cease its food service ministry after Thanksgiving. The ministry feeds 60 to 100 homeless individuals once a week in the Southern California city.
The church also hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner in partnership with the Malibu Labor Exchange.
But the city of Malibu has denied that it told the church to stop the meal service and agreed to meet with the church after Thanksgiving.
"All parties agreed to gather more information and come back to continue the constructive dialogue after the Thanksgiving holiday,” the city said in a press release.
Dawn Randall, who works with Malibu UMC, told a local news station that the city said the reason for the change was that the ministry was actually “increasing homelessness.”
The ministry launched in 2014, and from 2013 to 2015, the homeless population jumped from 8,371 to 8,688, according to The Malibu Times.
The Malibu City Council is expected to discuss the meal program at its next meeting.
"I think many of them eat out of dumpsters and trash cans when they aren't eating with us," said Kay Gabbard, who also works with the church. "We can't pretend like (homelessness) doesn't exist in our backyard. We can't pretend that it only exists outside Malibu."
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Publication date: November 13, 2017