Raleigh, N.C. Bans Church Group From Serving Free Breakfast

NOTES BY  NORSE:   Food Not Bombs [FNB], unlike Hollowell’s Love Wins Ministry, has repeatedly ignored “disperse the homeless”-motivated attacks on its free food meals in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Orlando, and many other cities in the past.   Currently FNB is under attack in Portland, Seattle, Detroit, and Boulder.  (Seehttp://www.foodnotbombs.net/fnb_resists.html).
        In Santa Cruz, food serving has generally been driven out of the Pacific Avenue area either to the ghetto-area of the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC], or to San Lorenzo Park.   Funding for ID checks at the HLOSC  as  well as a $100,000 security gate appropriation (by city and county paranoid-enablers) was passed recently.
        Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs still feeds each Saturday in front of the Main Post office on the sidewalk.  Go to their facebook page to offer support–they need carrot choppers, soup-servers, and postermakers!
        Keith McHenry, FNB co-founder, will be calling in to the stream of Free Radio Santa Cruz at during the Thursday evening show (6-8 PM) and again for a longer interview Sunday sometime between 9:30 AM and 1 PM) at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ .  Call in with questions at 831-427-3772 or 832-469-3119.
          Free Radio Santa Cruz still desperately needs a transmitter site in Santa Cruz.  If you know anyone with a tall tree or second story house, please contact them at www.freakradio.org .

Standing up with the hungry

Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013 12:36 am | Updated: 12:38 am, Mon Aug 26, 2013.

Jacob Fulk, Staff writer |

Protesters gathered Sunday evening at Moore Square in response to a series of cease and desist requests targeted at groups distributing food to the homeless.


The latest cease and desist request was enforced Saturday morning when the Raleigh Police department, in accordance with a city ordinance, forbade Hugh “The Reverend” Hollowell and his Love Wins Ministry from distributing coffee and breakfast to area homeless people.


“It seemed less like ‘get the people out of the park’ and more like ‘how do we punish homeless people,” Hollowell said.


According to Hollowell his group had handed out breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays for 6 years before the cease and desist request on August 24th.


Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane attended the event to reassure protesters and charitable organizations that no arrests will be made for handing out food at Moore Square.


According to McFarlane at least 32 different groups distribute food at Moore Square. She also said that more homeless people might have their needs met if these groups were more evenly distributed across the city.


“We’ve gotten to where there are so many people coming and and bringing food and wanting to help that it is almost sometimes overwhelming,” McFarlane said.


City officials provided little information as to why police recently enforced the ordinance after years of interaction between organizations and homeless people, though McFarlane and City Councilman Russ Stephenson both cited an overabundance of groups donating and haphazardly dropping off food as reason for reform.


Donald Zepp, leader of Humans Beans Together and former professor of entomology at Cornell Univeristy, said that the police disallowing the distribution of food “came as a complete surprise considering we had police officers previously coming over to us to say ‘thank you for being here’ and ‘we appreciate what you are doing here.’”


Zepp also said he familiarized himself with the city ordinance that prohibits the distribution of food and it could theoretically be applied to extent that “if you’re here with your family and you feed your kid a sandwich, you’re breaking the ordinance.”

Hollowell expressed a surprise similar to that of Zepp, stating that “When a man with a gun tells you that you’re not permitted to do something, what do you do?”


“We are not the mayor’s enemies, we are not the City of Raleigh’s enemies,” Hollowell said. He mentioned that during a conversation with Mayor McFarlane she expressed her own surprise toward the incident and assured him that Love Wins would not be arrested if it returned the following Saturday.


Jes Cronmiller of Food Not Bombs, a political organization that frequently distributes food in Moore Square, noted that the number of people picking up food on Sunday afternoon was below normal. Many of her regulars had forgone acquiring food out of a fear of being ticketed or arrested by the police.


The sentiment of many of the protesters in attendance was that the police overextended their reach and used an obscure ordinance to remove homeless citizens from the park.


According to McFarlane, lawmakers and public safety officials will meet this week to address the future of food distribution in Moore Square and across the city. In the meantime, Love Wins, Food Not Bombs and Human Beans Together plan to conduct their food-giving schedules as normally as they are allowed.

Police and Postal Bureaucrats Crack Down on Food Not Bombs in Santa Cruz

Today at the Meal

by Robert Norse  Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:00 AM

Briefly, two SCPD officers and two postal officials approached the group and demanded they move off the post office property, while proclaiming “concern and appreciation” for the feeding of homeless people. After initially trying to continue feeding at the original location under the eaves of the post office, the FNB workers picked up their tables and moved to the sidewalk.

I recorded some of the interaction between officials and FNB workers. I’ll be playing that tape tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 10 AM ( http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ or 101.3 FM). The show will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130127.mp3–about 2 1/2 hours into the audio. Call-in at 427-3772.

At the request of FNB workers, Steve Pleich took a leading role in facilitating the withdrawal of FNB from the post office steps to the sidewalk where it continued to feed without further molestation. Officials rejected my request to know the full name of the individual demanding we move and of his superior’s name. Police sergeant D. Forbas kept trying to shield his conversation with Pleich from the listening ears of my recorder and refused to answer questions which I put to him afterwards.

Some considered the day’s actions a success–with the meal continuing to be fed, folks continuing to sit on the steps of the post office and eat. Others wondered if this were the first step in a campaign to drive FNB from visible feeding in the downtown. The Food Not Bombs banner was visible, but I didn’t notice any literature present–the group willing for the moment to give up the right to serve and distribute literature in the unused area they had been at for the previous six weeks under threat of trespass arrest.

While the postal inspector insisted that the group was “violating federal regulations”, he declined to say which regulations except for vague claims that FNB was “conducting business”. The claim that FNB was violating the state trespass code seemed a strange one since the area is open to the general public.

Food Not Bombs groups in other cities has insisted that it is not simply a charitable organization serving food, but one presenting a clear message (with literature and banners). Such was an earlier FNB message in Santa Cruz in the late 80’s and mid-90’s when Santa Cruz FNB fed in different spots.

FNB workers and some supporters noted that FNB had only moved 20-30 feet, that it was not being told to disperse, that it would continue to “make poverty visible” and feed poor and homeless people, and address further hostile police actions if they arose as they arose.

Similar threats used against Occupy Santa Cruz [OSC] when it was in front of the courthouse in the fall of 2011 resulted in some citations and arrests, but no charges ultimately in court under the trespass code used to intimidate FNB workers today.

Unlike FNB activists decades before OSC activists did not return to reclaim the space in front of the courthouse once threatened with arrest. However, unlike the earlier attack on FNB in Santa Cruz and San Francisco which demanded the groups cease serving food altogether because they “didn’t have a permit”, the current attack so far is only limited to the post office grounds and supposedly has to do with location rather than food serving itself.

For some of the events in the history of the FNB movement, go to http://foodnotbombs.net/fnb_time_line.html .

However, a church group feeding in front of Forever Twenty-One on Thursday afternoon was reportedly the target of SCPD police action against clients sitting within 14′ of buildings.

Ronee and Scott Curry, who regularly conduct Sunday lunch on Pacific Avenue at Soquel and Pacific have experienced some harassment either directly under the “move every hour” ordinance or of their clients hassled for “sitting down”.

Father Joel Miller of the Calvary Episcopal Church experienced a strong attack from former Mayor (and recently reelected City Council member) Cynthia Mathews for his once-a-week Monday dinner at the Red Church, across from Matthew’s historic property (located between the Nickelodeon and Jack’s Hamburgers).

Pastor Dennis Adams was driven away from the downtown by merchant and police hostility several years ago, now doing his meal out at the Homeless (Lack of ) Services Center.

On Tuesday the Santa Cruz City Council’s Public Safety Committee will be meeting 6 PM in City Council chambers to consider a further crackdown on homeless people among other “safety measures”. Agenda: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?recordid=4709&page=440 . Staff report: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=30533 .

The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent those of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs as an organization, nor necessarily the views of any of the individuals associated with it.

by Robert Norse

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:03 AM

The FNB meal began around 4 PM Saturday January 26th and was immediately approached by police. Workers moved the meal to the sidewalk within 20 minutes after police and postal officials began their threats. It continued for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the sidewalk.

FNB is looking for volunteers and can be reached via its Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs facebook page.