Two Florida pastors and a 90-year-old advocate for the homeless have been issued citations from police for distributing food to people in poverty without providing a portable toilet.
Pastor Dwayne Black, Pastor Mark Sims and Arnold Abbott were serving food to the Ft. Lauderdale homeless community when police arrived on the scene. The men now face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Abbott has fed over 1,400 through his non-profit since 1991. He said that he cannot afford to provide a portable toilet. "I have tried to abide by their regulations, but we just are not able to provide a port-a-potty. I believe that is the job of the municipality, anyway,” Abbott said.
Pastor Sims explained that they are doing something good in the community. "We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry. To criminalise that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith,” he said.
Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler holds a firm stance against feeding the homeless. "Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive,” he said.
Abbott said that he will feed the homeless again on Wednesday (Nov. 5). "I know that I will be arrested again, and I am prepared for that. I am my brother's keeper, and what they are doing is just heartless.”
Publication date: November 5, 2014