FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A controversial law in Florida is receiving quite a bit of backlash after video surfaced of two pastors and a 90-year-old man being arrested for feeding the hungry.
According to the YouTube description, volunteers with Love Thy Neighbor were given notices to appear in court for violating Fort Lauderdale’s “sharing ban” regulations.
The sharing ban laws require groups handing out food to the homeless to be at least 500 feet away from residential properties. They also limit feeding sites for the homeless to one in any given city block and prevent them from being within 500 feet of each other.
“I fully believe that I am my brother’s keeper. Love thy neighbor as they self,” said Arnold Abbott.
Abbott, 90, prepares hundreds of meals each week for the homeless in the kitchen of his church.
“We serve two entrees at every feeding,” he said.
However, Abbott’s work has him in trouble with the law.
He is facing possible jail time and a $500 fine for feeding the homeless after he was charged with violating a new ordinance.
“One of the police officers came over and said,’Drop that plate right now,’ as if I was carrying a weapon,” he said.
A minister from Coral Springs and Sanctuary Church pastor Wayne Black were also charged.
“We believe very strongly that Jesus taught us that we are to feed his sheep,” Black said.
Mayor Jack Seiler warned that arrests were coming.
“We enforce the laws here in Ft. Lauderdale,” Mayor Seiler said.
In 1999, Abbott sued the city for banning him from feeding the homeless on the beach, which he won.
“There are the poorest of the poor. They have nothing. Don’t have a roof over their head and who could turn them away?” he said.
According to the YouTube description, organizers say the people who are most in need are in the area where the sharing ban is being enforced.