Authorities in Daytona Beach, Florida have increased efforts to dissuade unofficial organizations from feeding the city’s homeless, threatening trespassing fines to longtime Good Samaritans should they counter the city’s official social services plan.
A group of volunteers who have prepared food for the Daytona Beach homeless population – or anyone who is hungry, the organizers say – for the past year were given citations and trespass warnings by law enforcement this week.
The city, like dozens of local municipalities across the United States, is attempting to discourage groups outside the approved channels from offering assistance, in hopes of funneling charity to centralized homeless services in the area, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
“The ordinance is there, so if we catch you, we’re going to cite you,” Police Chief Mike Chitwood said. “If you want to feed people, and you want to do a good, Christian act, we encourage you to coordinate with the social service agencies.”
Chico and Debbie Jimenez, founders of Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word, and their volunteers were targeted this week at Manatee Island Park despite their reportedly responsible, respected efforts to feed the hungry. Their citations amounted to threats of a $273 fine for trespassing and $100 fine for facility use without a permit.
“We feed anybody that’s hungry,” Chico Jimenez said.
Posted by The NON-Conformist