90-year-old Man, Two Pastors, Arrested for Feeding Homeless in Fort Lauderdale
Two Florida pastors and a 90-year-old man were arrested Sunday while feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale.
The city had just implemented a new ordinance on Friday which places heavy restrictions on how organizations can provide food to the homeless. The restrictions, such as food handling rules, mandatory toilet and hand-washing facilities, and rules on serving times and methods, are said to be crippling to homeless advocate groups.
Arnold Abbot, 90, routinely prepares the meals at The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale and was arrested with Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church. Rev. Mark Sims, of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs was also arrested. The three men were ordered to appear in court to explain their actions and may face up to 60 days in jail.
The ordinance is aimed at cracking down on the growing homelessness in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” said Sims. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”
Black sympathizes with the city’s intent, but urges: “let’s just feed them, and then deal with other issues.”