Today, a news story that caught our attention was about Arnold Abbott, a 90-year old man in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who was arrested for feeding the homeless. Abbott and two South Florida ministers are accused of breaking a new city ordinance banning public feeding of the homeless, and each faces up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
ABC News reports that Fort Lauderdale passed the ordinance out of concern from residents and businesses who want to protect their neighborhoods. But advocates on behalf of Abbott stress that the ordinances do nothing to address the root causes of the homeless and those in poverty. We couldn’t agree more.
Providing those in need with a meal isn’t a crime; it’s an American value.
We recently stumbled across this picture of a soup kitchen during the Great Depression that was run by Volunteers of America, one of our member organizations. In times of need we pride ourselves on our ability to step up and help our fellow man. Well, at least we did.
The story reminded us of the infographic below, created by Sustainable America, from an article published in the Wall Street Journal: “Hungering for a Solution to Food Losses.” It ties the statistics about how much food is wasted each year to the number of people in the world who struggle with food insecurity. The conclusion: through both simple and smart changes, we can adequately feed everyone on Earth today with the resources we already have.
While the mayor of Fort Lauderdale has said that the city is working with local charities to help serve the homeless through indoor feedings and programs that will provide medical care and long-term help, does it make sense to throw a compassionate, industrious man in jail for pursing that same outcome? We hope for a constructive solution for all involved, and that the infographic below reminds everyone that we already have the ability to help those in need. It just takes effort, ingenuity, and most of all, compassion.