Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Feeding The Homeless.

The headline was certainly provocative - Three arrested, accused of illegally feeding homeless - and like many news headlines designed to provoke us, this one was also designed to mislead. Even Mark Shea appears to have been blind sided. Shea writes,

"One of the main effects of our increasingly draconian security/entitlement state is that normal, healthy mediating institutions such as the Church and local charities get shoved out and the state tries to horn in and do the work of dealing with those suffering from our proliferating social pathologies. This generally boils down to a) jail and b) throwing money at them. Meanwhile, the people closest to the problem and best equipped to help are treated by the state as competitors and enemies of the state. So it's jail for them too. "

The story -
Members of the Orlando chapter of Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park.
The three where charged with violating an Orlando city ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks.

According to the Food Not Bombs website, "Food Not Bombs shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment."

Feeding the homeless is, without question, noble. I don't understand, however, the group's insistence that the food be distributed in a public park. It would seem to make more sense for the group to either establish a "soup kitchen" or otherwise donate money and/or food to an already existing shelter or food bank.

An established shelter or food bank would also be able to address other needs confronting the homeless....perhaps even helping them find a place to live, a job or helping them obtain SSI if they qualify. A once a week breakfast (on Mondays) and a Wednesday dinner in a public park isn't what these folks need.

The people involved in Food Not Bombs may have good intentions, but it appears to me that they are more interested in protesting the "establishment" rather than truly helping the homeless.

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