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What would you do if you came across someone on the street that had not had anything to eat for several days? Would you give that person some food? Well, the next time you get that impulse you might want to check if it is still legal to feed the homeless where you live. Sadly, feeding the homeless has been banned in major cities all over America. Other cities that have not banned it outright have put so many requirements on those that want to feed the homeless (acquiring expensive permits, taking food preparation courses, etc.) that feeding the homeless has become “out of reach” for most average people. Some cities are doing these things because they are concerned about the “health risks” of the food being distributed by ordinary “do-gooders”. Other cities are passing these laws because they do not want homeless people congregating in city centers where they know that they will be fed. But at a time when poverty and government dependence are soaring to unprecedented levels, is it really a good idea to ban people from helping those that are hurting?
CHARITABLE GROUP OFFERS TO PAY YOUR FINES IF YOU IGNORE PHILLY’S NEW BAN ON FEEDING THE HOMELESS
As a example of this new law, Philadelphia’s new law banning “all outdoor feedings of large numbers of people on City parkland” goes into effect Friday, according CBS Philly, and some charitable groups have elected to ignore it.
“I encourage every church, every organization, every individual that has been serving on the Parkway to continue serving on the Parkway, despite this law that is going into effect,” said Altressa Boatwright, operations manager for Chosen 300, a charitable organization which has proudly served Philadelphia’s homeless community for years with “outdoor feedings.”
But why would the city pass a ban on charitable giving?
According to proponents of the bill, including Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the new law will “protect the dignity of the homeless, cleanliness of the parks, and eliminate food health concerns.” However, dozens of opponents of the law testified at a hearing on Thursday and said the reasoning behind the ban was bunko.
David Shivel, who volunteers handing out doughnuts and coffee, says “he is willing to go to jail for feeding the homeless,” adding that city officials need to understand they alone cannot help the city’s homeless, philly.com reports.
“You need us,” Shivel said. “You may not know that, but you need us.”