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It seems there’s a limit to brotherly love in the city of Brotherly Love.
The city of Philadelphia has outlawed the feeding of people outdoors.
If you’re living on the street, you used to be able to go to the oh-so-appropriately-named Love Park and get fed. No questions asked. Just line up, get a plate and eat.
Someone from the Chosen 300 Ministries was there to hand out the food. The students from The Mathematics Civics and Sciences Charter School raised money to buy the homeless food and toiletries. Volunteers from across the city would do their part.
You can imagine how important those meals – and that love – was to the homeless.
Now, the city wants it to end.
They want the homeless fed indoors. In special zones of the city only. In places the city approves. Away from where tourists might see them.
As Reverend Brian Jenkins of Chosen 300 Ministries says: These rules “are designed to tuck the homeless in a corner and pretend that the problem does not exist in our city.”
In the city which gave birth to American freedom, they have banned the freedom to give out food.
In the city of brotherly love, they have banned brotherly love.
They have banned it, because they are threatened by it.
I have always argued, and continue to believe, that the worst thing about big government is not the cost.
The real problem is that big government competes with community service… with volunteerism… with charity… with the caring in our hearts.
Big government crowds out small acts of love.
The bigger government gets, the less it wants competition – especially when it comes to caring.
When ordinary citizens do the kinds of things big government thinks it should do, guess what happens next?
They invent reasons to ban community service and charity.
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg banned food donations to government-run homeless shelters. Why? Because the city wants to assess the nutritional content of the food. I guess Mayor Bloomberg would rather the homeless go hungry than get a little more sodium than the USDA thinks advisable.
In Washington State, the Department of Health has banned homemade food from ALL donations to homeless shelters and food distribution sites. Who cares that you make the best lasagna on your street? The homeless of Washington State might enjoy it, but the bureaucrats at the Department of Health are afraid of the elevated LDL that might come from the mozzarella.
And here’s the amazing thing: When they announced the rules, they said: Don’t worry, if you throw away your leftovers instead of giving them to the homeless, you’re not wasting. You’re – and I quote -- “actually protecting the at risk hunger community that we help feed.” End quote.
In Macon, Georgia, they told volunteers that it would be better to donate grocery food cards rather than actual frozen turkeys at Thanksgiving time. I don’t know about you, but at Thanksgiving, when I want to give people what they need for the special meal, I want them to have a turkey, not a piece of plastic.
In Morristown, New Jersey, and Delaware, and Arizona, and Illinois, they are reclassifying food donation centers and feeding kitchens as restaurants. What that means is that these places have to get inspected… they have to hire consultants to tell them how to redesign their kitchens to pass the inspections… they have to meet all kinds of new expensive regulations.
What does it all mean? Big government makes community service harder… more expensive… more difficult to do. It’s a tax on charity and service. And it’s wrong.
Let’s be honest: This isn’t about protecting people who need a meal. If big government cared about the health of people who needed a meal, there wouldn’t be any need for new regulations. We’d just say: “If you want to feed someone, knock yourself out. God bless you for your efforts! And please, do as much as you can with as much love in your heart!”
This is about power. This is about the power of government bureaucrats. They want to take away the right to care. The right to feed. The right to show another human being the simple dignity of a warm meal, no questions asked.
Erike Younge is a writer at the One Step Away, a Philadelphia-area newspaper which is a voice for the city’s homeless. Here is what he said: “Feeding people and serving the needs of the people is a fundamental right.”
Erike is correct. Feeding people is a fundamental right because it’s a natural moral impulse. When you see someone in need, you want to help. You do your part. Not because someone tells you, but because you know it’s the right thing to do.
Now we have government bureaucrats who tell us it’s the WRONG thing to do. To give someone the leftovers from our lunches and dinners. To hand someone a chafing dish with Aunt Lillian’s lasagna. To set out a table in a public park, and say to all who need a meal: Come and eat!
Our hearts say this is right. Our government says it is wrong.
We are better than this. As Americans, we don’t want the government to take control of our lives. We don’t want government to take control of our hearts.
We have the right to feed. The right to care. And we must exercise it.
So during this Week of Service, do your part. Bring those doughnuts and those bagels and those salty snacks to your neighbors in need. They need the calories. They need the help. They need your love.
And don’t let any government official get in the way of your heart.
Thanks for watching.
May God bless you, and may God bless the Republic.