Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Arnold Abbott: Fighting to Feed the Poor

Mr Arnold Abbott, Ft Lauderdale, has become my new hero for feeding the homeless because many people do the same, but few face arrest and most cease and desist before incarceration.

Mr. Abbott, a World War 2 veteran, has fed homeless folks on the beach since 1991.  An ordinance passed last month effectively prevents Mr. Abbott from doing so, and the city has cited him three times since the ordinance passed.  Presumably, he faces arrest and jail time f he continues his campaign of civil disobedience.

Unlike the rest of us cowardly lions, Mr. Abbott says he will continue feeding hungry humans.

This WFTV news story quotes him as saying, ""I spent two and a half years in a combat infantry in combat in World War II. I knew what I was fighting for then, I know what I'm fighting for now."

What do you want to bet those who passed the ordinance claim to follow Jesus as Christians.  You just can't get elected if you worship Satan.  Nevertheless, the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew say, "35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."

Homelessness has never numbered among my problems.  It passes beyond my ken to think of living on the streets, especially as a mother with children.  Those who passed the ordinance sweem to have forgotten the recent recession, the one where otherwise hardworking people faced foreclosure and lost their homes. It dosn't sound easy.

One who lived through losing the "American Dream" courageously relates her experience below.  Please try to imagine yourself huddled with your children under a bridge on a cold winter night wondering where your next meal will come from.  Imagine rising after fitful fighting for any scrap of sleep-hungry because every scrap of food you gleaned you gave to the kids who now cling to your legs--and meeting Mr. Arnold and getting all of you fed for what seems like the first time in weeks.

Then, please sign the petition and join the campaign to feed your neighbors in need.

[It’s illegal to feed homeless people in public in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week 90-year-old Arnold Abbott was arrested and now faces 60 days in jail for offering food to the homeless with his church. Ft. Lauderdale police should drop the charges against Mr. Abbott and repeal the law against feeding homeless people in public.

My children and I were homeless for 6 years. It wasn’t easy, but luckily I had the kindness of strangers to lend me a hand from time to time. They would buy me meals, give me hope, sometimes stop to see how I was and it showed me that I wasn’t alone and that although I was homeless, I wasn’t invisible. It was in large part because of them that I got off of the streets and can now proudly say I have a place to call my own,  a husband and 5 beautiful children.

I remember my time on the street often. That's why I was so upset when I learned that not even a 30 minute drive from where I live, 90-year-old homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, along with two Christian ministers were arrested for violating a new Ft. Lauderdale ordinance that virtually bans public feeding of the homeless. Now Mr. Abbott and his companions each face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine! It's outrageous to think that someone’s kindness could land them in jail.

As an ex-homeless person I take every chance I get to repay the goodwill strangers afforded me. I give what I can to those in need and I teach my children treat others as they wish to be treated and that means being compassionate and understanding. I’m sure many of you do the same. Just imagine being arrested and thrown in jail for 60 days for buying a sandwich for a person in need!]

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