I recently came across this disturbing news article about an elderly man and 2 pastors arrested in Florida. They were charged for feeding the homeless. Public food sharing is a crime in Fort Lauderdale.
Sounds too ridiculous and inhumane to be true, but it is. To clamp down on the homeless and do-gooders that feed them, the law bans anyone from sharing food in public places…Cancel that romantic picnic on the beach.
It’s unimaginable that we have come to this point in society. How can a governing body find fault in caring for the needy? what harm is in that?
Martin Luther King said,
“There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”
While homelessness and hunger is more of an serious issue in the USA, we certainly have this in Canada too.
Having once worked in a social assistance office, I have seen first hand the meager amounts that are doled out to the poor. They really do feed from our crumbs. There was a time in my life when I had to use a food bank to supplement the little food I could afford.
Food banks receive what we are willing to part with – a lot of damaged goods, near or passed expiration, highly processed foods. Rarely does a person with little means enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Rarer still are special holiday foods, ones from years past when they used to enjoy them in a warm home, in the bosom of their family. For the very poor, like in the story Little Match Girl, those are all but memories.
Perhaps as the holidays draw near, those of us who can do more, should (I include myself here). When we do our Christmas baking we can make some extra cookies or a nice cake and donate it to a shelter. Or buy an extra turkey for a neighbour who is down on their luck.
Just in case these generous men have inspired you to act, here are links to some worthy organizations: