Demand City of Gainesville, FL to Feed ALL Who are Hungry!
  • Petitioned Thomas Hawkins

This petition was delivered to:

Commissioner (At-large), Gainesville, FL
Thomas Hawkins
Mayor of Gainesville, FL
Craig Lowe
Commissioner (At-large), Gainesville, FL
Jeanna Mastrodicasa
Commissioner (District IV), Gainesville, FL
Randy Wells
Commissioner (District I), Gainesville, FL
Scherwin Henry
Commissioner (District III), Gainesville
Susan Bottcher
Commissioner (District II), Gainesville
Todd Chase

Demand City of Gainesville, FL to Feed ALL Who are Hungry!

    1. Elizabeth Lombino
    2. Petition by

      Elizabeth Lombino

      New York, NJ

  1.  
  2.   
August 2011

Victory

It took more than a year of organizing. 15,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding that Gainesville feed all who are hungry. Dozens of local demonstrations were held, many organized by local college students and the Coalition to End the Meal Limits NOW. Change.org members even phone-banked the City Commission, demanding to know when a vote would be scheduled.

And finally, on August 18th, the City Commission voted unanimously to end the limit.

Instead,  soup kitchens will be allowed to serve food for a 3-hour period each day, a compromise suggested by Kent Vann, Executive Director of the St. Francis House soup kitchen, which was at the center of this debate.  The city attorney's office will now have to draft a new ordinance and the commission will have to approve it. At long last, Gainesville can move past the ill-conceived meal limit.

The City of Gainesville, Florida has imposed a 130-meals-a-day limit on area soup kitchens. St. Francis House is one soup kitchen that's being restricted by this limit and turns away dozens of people each day. The commissioners of Gainesville could immediately rescind this limit, and relieve St. Francis House and other area service agencies from having to adhere to this ordinance.

At a recent City Hall meeting, an 8 year-old girl named Mackenzie Case said, "It makes me sad that we have hungry people we aren't allowed to feed." She also held a hand-written sign that said, "If I was No. 131 you wouldn't feed me?"

The pleas of this courageous little girl speaks volumes. We need to let the City of Gainesville know just how outrageous and inhumane this limit is.

In these uncertain financial times, many of us are one paycheck away from being homeless. This is not rhetoric, it's a scary fact. Food is incredibly expensive. If a family is forced to pay even more money out of pocket to feed their family, they become even closer to losing their home and other necessities. This is why soup kitchens and food pantries are critical assets to each city. Enacting a limit may lead to less of a financial strain on the city for the short term, but having to provide services to many more homeless individuals and families in the long term will certainly cost much more. Preventing the problem is always less expensive than attempting to manage it.

Soup kitchens exist to help meet the basic needs of all of us. We are ALL deserving of a hot meal. Without food, a person cannot possibly thrive. The cycle of poverty will no doubt continue. Each city needs to work to meet these basic needs to ensure that each person can get one step closer to moving out of this dangerous cycle.

Please join us in demanding the city of Gainesville to overturn this limit! It is up to the city - not up to each soup kitchen. Help us prevent another family from going hungry.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Victory! Gainesville ends 130-meal-a-day limit on soup kitchens

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      It took more than a year of organizing.
      15,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding that Gainesville feed all who are hungry.
      Dozens of local demonstrations were held, many organized by local college students and the Coalition to End the...

    2. City of Gainesville votes to end meal limit

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      On Thursday, the commission gave its seal of approval with a 6-0 vote; Commissioner Randy Wells was absent.The city attorney's office will now draft an ordinance that the commission will have to approve in two more votes.

    3. Vote on Meal Limit Scheduled for Today

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      The Gainesville Sun ran an editorial urging the City Commission to vote to end the 130-person meal limit against feeding the homeless. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the issue today. Stay tuned!

    4. Vote Officially Scheduled for Aug. 18

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Advocates believe there are enough votes to overturn the limit, but there are still undecided votes. Let's keep the pressure on Gainesville Commissioners. Share this petition with your friends and family.

    5. Reached 15,000 signatures
    6. Progress: Mayor Opposes Meal Limit

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe yesterday announced his support for the repeal of the 130-person limit on meals to the homeless, and pledged that the issue would be voted on by the commission on Aug. 18.

    7. Gainesville City Commission Too Busy Approving Street Parties

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      As the city's homeless continue to be turned away after the 130th person is served a meal each day, the Gainesville City Commission has voted on a series of measures - but oddly enough, not on repealing the meal limit. Call them and ask them to vote.

    8. Gainesville's meal limit unfair, arbitrary

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      A volunteer for the Girl Scouts in Gainesville recently learned of the 130-person meal limit, while serving meals at the St. Francis House.

    9. 60 Minutes: "The Tragedy of Homeless Children"

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      The CBS show 60 Minutes reports on the record number of children descending into poverty in America. The report focuses on Florida, where homelessness among children is particularly high.

    10. Many Veterans in Gainesville's Homeless Population

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      In a survey of Gainesville's homeless population, the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry found that 36 percent of people living on the streets were veterans.

    11. County Democratic Party Urges Commission to Lift Meal Limit

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      This is a big deal. The Alucha Democratic Party is urging the City Commission to vote for repeal, saying the "current meal limit policies have proven ineffective in dealing with the needs of the homeless population – either in achieving the policy’s intent of reducing their presence downtown or providing for their needs in an alternative form.”

    12. Reached 12,500 signatures
    13. City of Gainesville Busting Panhandlers for Food

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      While the City Commission delays voting to repeal the meal limit, the Gainesville police department is conducting sting operations to bust panhandlers. One person who was later arrested held a sign reading, "Please help an old man with food."

    14. An opportunity in Gainesville?

      Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      The City Commission recently went through a SWOT exercise (identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the city) and listed "addressing the homeless situation" as an opportunity. Does this mean an end to the meal limit?

    15. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      A Florida mayor calls local homeless advocates "food terrorists," but people aren't backing down.

    16. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Activists are risking arrest to feed Florida's homeless.

    17. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      A documentary has been about one man's fight against the Gainesville meal limit. Watch the trailer:

    18. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      If you're on Twitter, please tweet a message to @gainesvillegov asking them to repeal the meal limit.

    19. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Visit to learn more about this campaign in Gainesville.

    20. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Amazing! Let's keep the momentum going. Can you post this petition to Facebook and share with friends and family?

    21. Reached 10 signatures
    22. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      Can we get to 10,000 signatures by the end of the day?

    23. Reached 9 signatures
    24. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      According to a reporter at The Gainesville Sun, a vote on the meal limit has been pushed to July. The longer the Commission waits to vote on this issue, the more families are going hungry.

    25. Jess Kutch
      Petition Organizer

      The City Commission is scheduled to vote on the meal limit on June 16th at a public hearing.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Mike DePue SPRINGFIELD, MO
      • about 3 years ago

      I understand SHAME and DISGRACE. They're simple concepts and easily recognized. What part of these words doesn't the CIty of Gainesville understand?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alexis Smith CONWAY, AR
      • about 3 years ago

      Nurture the unhealthy; volunteer, save the needy.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Francis Butts GEORGETOWN, UNITED STATES MINOR OUTLYING ISLANDS
      • about 3 years ago

      Well, Forrest Gump said it best. "Stupid is as stupid does. Congratulations to the City of Gainesville, they have made my own personal "Forrest Gump list!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Robin Rutledge NEPTUNE BEACH, FL
      • about 3 years ago

      This is an immoral ordinance. What a bunch of soup Nazis!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Michelle Thomas WEATHERFORD, TX
      • about 3 years ago

      Now the govt is dictating how many free meals others can serve? Where's the nonprofits? Does this 'Rule" apply to them? City has overstepped it's boundries. If its a city ran facility, they should feed until the food is gone. But that doesn't mean arbitrarily stop at #xyz. The city council will soon be in the soup!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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