Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter drew sharp criticism after attempting to ban community organizations from feeding the hungry and homeless in city parks in March. One charitable group even offered to pay the fines of all those who violated the measure.
While Nutter claimed the ban would “protect the dignity of the homeless, cleanliness of the parks, and eliminate food health concerns,” Reverend Brian Jenkins of Chosen 300 Ministries commented: “These regulations are clearly designated not with the intent of protecting the health and dignity of the homeless, but are designed to tuck the homeless in a corner and pretend that the problem does not exist in our city.”
And now, a federal judge has struck down Nutter’s ban, saying he sees no evidence that a city plan to feed the homeless outside City Hall is any better than the way it’s being done by groups at the current time.
Watch Fox’s report on the matter, including interviews with homeless residents of the city:
Mayor Nutter says he is disappointed in the ruling, maintaining that the charitable giving could spread food-borne illnesses and rob the homeless of their dignity.
Members of Liberti Fairmount Church reportedly serve homeless people like Tere Kaufman sandwiches, potato salad and other goodies a couple times a month, and Kaufman commented: “Dignity! That is ridiculous…There is nothing undignified, the sun shining down and eating outdoors.”
“I was glad I had waited,” she also said, adding that it had been 24 hours since she had eaten.