Florida couple fined thousands of dollars, threatened with jail time for feeding the homeless***
Source: Poor Richard's Blog / BLNfrom NBC:
Debbie and Chico Jimenez openly admit committing the act that earned them two citations apiece: feeding more than 100 people who are homeless in Daytona Beach.
Police in Daytona Beach also threatened them with arrest and incarceration, if they offer any more of their home-cooked meals at Manatee Island Park, a gathering the Jimenezes say they’ve hosted every Wednesday for the past year.
“The worst thing is, these are people we have grown to love, they’ve become like family to us, and now we’re not allowed to go down and do that anymore.
It’s just heartbreaking.
I have cried and cried and cried,” said Debbie Jimenez, 52, a retired auto parts store manager. She and her husband, 60, a retired construction manager, operate New Smyrna Beach-based ministry called “Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word.”
“One of our (homeless) friends said that Wednesday is just not going to be Wednesday anymore,” Debbie Jimenez added.
“- We were given 10 days to either pay the fine or tell them we’re going to court. We’re going to court. The police don’t like it. But how can we turn our backs on the hungry? We can’t.”
In all, police officers ticketed six people, including four volunteers who helped the Jimenezes on Wednesday – one of them, a man in a wheelchair who recently escaped homelessness and participated “to pay it forward,” Debbie Jimenez said. The fines levied by authorities total $2,238.
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The police claim that some of the homeless people have been gathering in the park in a drunk and disorderly fashion, and thus they’re taking it out on the compassionate people who are trying to better the situation.
This is a perfect example of big government vs private charity. Statist government hates private charity because it does not allow officials the luxury of control. [...]
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.
USA: De gav hemlösa människor mat - fick 10.000-tals kronor i böter, hotas med fängelse