Thursday, July 27, 2006

Food, Felonious Food

For ages it was only religious ministries that fed the homeless right out on the streets. Accepting a plate of food with a serving of proselytizing was the standard arrangement for the domicile-challenged.

In more recent years, other activist groups have gotten into the act. And, suddenly, feeding the homeless is a problem. A crime in some places, actually.

Florida cities such as Orlando and Tampa have enacted ordinances against “mass feedings,” as the homeless present a few issues.

They panhandle. But if they’re already in these areas, they’re probably panhandling anyway. Look at this way – while they’re busy chowing down, they’re not likely to approach anyone for money. "Look honey, they're eating. Let's run to the car while they're preoccupied!"

They use shrubbery as toilets. Again, if they’re already in the area, they probably do that anyway. Where else are they going to go? They are homeless, and most local businesses (somewhat understandably) have a “Restrooms are for paying customers only” sign on the door.

They commit crimes. I suppose that’s possible, but no homeless person has ever demanded money of me. The worst they've ever done is given me a guilt trip if I refused them for one reason or another.

All of these issues serve to illustrate the heart of the problem - that people are homeless. That some groups want to feed them (these activist groups feed them but don’t typically preach to their guests beyond, maybe, the wearing of a t-shirt with their group's slogan), is not the problem.

Not that the cities are responsible for anyone's home situation, but they could stand to be smarter and more compassionate when dealing with the issue.

I can’t imagine being a city council member, with my municipal salary on top of the income from my day job, and voting to take food out of the mouths of the homeless.

Come on, folks, try harder to feel something. And while you're at it, drop your sneaky little attempts at suppressing activism.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

No more Talk! Lets just make more bombs and send them to the Middle East. Fuck the earth, Finish the Earth, Kill the earth. Life does not matter anymore, especially to G. Busch. Is he evil? Yes he is.

rusty shakelford said...

"Is he evil?" YES HE IS!!! I think anonymous is trying out some new cheers before basketball season.

rusty shakelford said...

ohh by the way anonymous, in they military they have a saying about bombs.
"Guaranteed delivery world-wide, or your next one is free"

Pete Bogs said...

I am at a loss here... I think my original post was something about homeless poeple... lol

rusty shakelford said...

Sorry Pete, I remember back in the day when I lived in the chicago burbs there was a political covention. The city took all the homeless out of the city and bussed them to the suberbs. I guess they thought by the time they walked back the convention would be over and no one would be the wiser. I think the root of the problem is people dont want soup kitchens coming into their neighborhoods and lowering property values. I can't imagine puting property values over feeding the poor.

CROAK said...

Thank you for your conscious raising post. We have come to a pretty past when we blame the victim for their circumstances. A true sign of an arrogant nation and Australia is along for the ride.
It is getting worse here as well.
Rich nations expecting the homeless to fend, care and raise themselves up. They need help and compassion after all in a matter of degree it could be any of us.

Good post Pete, and one that is important to remember as we both try to keep what 'matters' on the front burner... ie people, not bigotry or hatred.

Have a Guiness on me, mate.

Pete Bogs said...

rusty - good point about the property values... these feedings typically take place in downtown business districts, so there's less concern about people making money off their homes... I've encountered some aggressive panhandlers, but I'd never try to take food out of their mouths...

croak - I'll take you up on that when I travel Down Under (one day!)

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

same thing tried to happen here. once downtown started to gentrify the condo people started leaning on state reps and city officals to stop the homeless kitchens in their respective hoods. but this is the home of SCLC and way seriously firey AA preacher types so it didnt fly.

i do understand the bathroom for customers gig. you cant have people in there using it as a change station or place to take a sponge bath or whatever at the expense of your business.

/grrrrrr

Pete Bogs said...

I agree with the bathroom thing, to an extent... but the issue arises, where to go? no home, no money to become a patron... I wouldn't want that job, so to speak...

Aunty Belle said...

NIMBY's ever'whar, huh (Not In My Back Yard)? Nobody wants ter have the poor in they sight, uncomfortable...but one thang is that folks down and out come ter Florida on account of the warm weather and we'uns have a mite more homeless tha n other places--tough on bidness, I guess...but why cain't we have homeless shelter's wif skill trainin' attached? >>>The Ghandi principle--feed him fer a day, teach him somethin;, feed him fer a life time?

Pete Bogs said...

aunt b - the goal ought to be getting people back into society... for some of the mentally ill ones, though, that's not so easy... the people you see arguing with themselves on the street are hard to employ, I imagine...

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