Feeding the homeless is being banned in many major cities in America. Seattle is just the latest city to enforce restrictions on charities that feed the homeless.
The Bread of Life Mission has been feeding the poor in Seattle for 70 years, and now they are being prevented from doing so in public parks without the city's approval.
"It was a service we were offering free of charge to be a blessing to the homeless," Executive Director Willie Parish, Jr told MyNorthwest.com. "All we were doing was just a continuation of what we do on a daily basis."
According to My Northwest:
In December, however, Parish said Seattle police told them they were no longer allowed to serve food at the park.
City officials say the restriction is nothing new, and that Bread of Life simply operated in the park for three years without being caught or reported.
David Takami with the Seattle Human Services Department said the city does not allow groups of people to feed the homeless outdoors without approval.
"This has happened in the past where there are a lot of meals served in a short period of time on the same day," he said. "It's a little chaotic and it can also lead to wasted food."
The Bread of Life Mission vows to continue to bring food to the people that need it despite the restrictions.
In 2011 members of a charity in Orlando Florida, Food Not Bombs, were arrested for feeding the homeless in a public park. The incident drew national criticism and a hilarious mocking response from one activist observing the police brutalize kind-hearted charities.
Also in 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter outlawed serving meals to the homeless in city parks. The ACLU won an injunction against the ban. See the full story in the video below:
In each case it seems the motivation for these bans is to give the cities the appearance of low homelessness instead of actually helping them. However, in every instance the authorities use the excuse that they are protecting the homeless against potentially unhealthy food, as if that's their responsibility.
Ultimately, the growing trend of banning or restricting private food charities is creating greater dependence on already taxed public assistance. But city governments seem to be doing more harm than good when it comes to helping the homeless.
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