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Drop the charges against 90-year-old Arnold Abbott for feeding the homeless

This petition had 206,116 supporters

It’s illegal to feed homeless people in public in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this week 90-year-old Arnold Abbott was arrested and now faces 60 days in jail for offering food to the homeless with his church. Ft. Lauderdale police should drop the charges against Mr. Abbott and repeal the law against feeding homeless people in public.

My children and I were homeless for 6 years. It wasn’t easy, but luckily I had the kindness of strangers to lend me a hand from time to time. They would buy me meals, give me hope, sometimes stop to see how I was and it showed me that I wasn’t alone and that although I was homeless, I wasn’t invisible. It was in large part because of them that I got off of the streets and can now proudly say I have a place to call my own,  a husband and 5 beautiful children.

I remember my time on the street often. Thats why I was so upset when I learned that not even a 30 minute drive from where I live, 90-year-old homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, along with two Christian ministers were arrested for violating a new Ft. Lauderdale ordinance that virtually bans public feeding of the homeless. Now Mr. Abbott and his companions each face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine! It's outrageous to think that someone’s kindness could land them in jail.

As an ex-homeless person I take every chance I get to repay the goodwill strangers afforded me. I give what I can to those in need and I teach my children treat others as they wish to be treated and that means being compassionate and understanding. I’m sure many of you do the same. Just imagine being arrested and thrown in jail for 60 days for buying a sandwich for a person in need!

I want the Ft. Lauderdale City Council to repeal this disgraceful ordinance and drop all charges against Mr. Abbott and his companions.  All of us deserve to be treated with kindness whether or not we have a home. City officials should encourage it rather than ask us to turn a blind eye.

If this ordinance is allowed to stand and the charges are not dropped, many homeless will lose a vital source of support and precedents could be set for other cities to follow suite.

Join me in signing this petition and demand that Ft. Lauderdale repeal this cruel ordinance and drop the charges against all those involved.  

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