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    Posted May 13, 2014 by
    claypoet
    Location
    New Jersey

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    Thou shall not feed the hungry or help the poor?

     

    I just read the story about the couple in Daytona Beach, Debbie and Chico Jimenez, who quit their full time jobs to provide home cooked meals for over 100 homeless people weekly at a public park. The story is about their mission to these people over the course of the last year and how the community has decided to put a stop to it and now these people and their recovered homeless volunteers are facing fines totalling thousands of dollars and threats of imprisonment. Is this what America has become?

     

    I understand that this is a public park where families come to spend time together and sanitation and safety are important. If police were present at the weekly events to observe this "criminal" activity, there should be no reason why they can't provide some useful assistance to ensure portable toilets are used and leftovers are properly disposed of and crowds dissipate after the event ends. Or offer them a permit like so many other locations provide. What better job can a policeman have then to contribute to the greater cause of helping society? If there continued to be safety or sanitation concerns, then OK, proceed with considering alternative location plans. But try to fix the problem if there are any, instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

     

    The truth is - homeless people, regardless of their reasons for being that way, make people uncomfortable. We have a society filled with people who have an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality who would be more than happy to do nothing better with their time than run up a phone bill complaining to their local authorities about the "trash" meeting at a local park once a week. It's true that we do have social service agencies to help people. But if those agencies are so effective then tell me - why is it that I house a family of 4 who are disabled (and have no substance abuse problems) because without our help and their church's help, they'd be standing in that same line? They have no health insurance, and no working car. The government-run society isn't succeeding at taking care of them and yet our do-gooders are told it's a crime if they do it.

     

    Sure, there are people with criminal backgrounds standing in that food line. There are people with substance abuse problems. Not everyone with these personal struggles will rise above it to succeed at a better life. But some will if given the chance, and many have. It's so much worse than just not allowing regular folks to feed some people in a park, government agencies are shutting down open doors all over the place. If we prevent our churches from helping them, limit our soup kitchens from feeding them all, and tell missionaries "sorry, but if you do this we'll throw you in jail with murderers and rapists" what have we become? The article says that these police basically told them to leave it up to the government agencies to help them - because the government agencies know everyone's background history to "weed out who deserves the help and who doesn't" - are you kidding me! We are all in need of grace. Without grace, there is no hope. We don't like these people walking around in our parks, but we don't want them to be shown any compassion to encourage them to change? You don't even have to be a missionary to see how flawed this is, for the betterment of the person with the flawed past and the betterment of society as a whole.

     

    Next time you see someone on the side of the road holding out a sign, try to remember the simple truth: you don't know their story. The only thing you do know is - you have a chance to be the good samaritan and show them some grace that just might save their life. And if you don't have the courage to be that person, please don't stand in the way of someone who does.

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