- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2014

A 90-year-old South Florida man was back to handing out food to the needy Wednesday, undeterred by his arrest for feeding the homeless over the weekend.

Arnold Abbott, head of the group Love Thy Neighbor, and two local reverends were arrested Sunday, facing up to two months in jail and a $500 fine for violating a Fort Lauderdale ordinance that limits where people can serve the homeless.

Undeterred, Mr. Abbott and his team of chefs set up shop Wednesday night on Fort Lauderdale Beach and dished out free food to the homeless. The elderly chef was escorted by police away from a large crowd of supporters and issued a citation, a local ABC affiliate reported.

“It’s our right to feed people, it’s our First Amendment right and I believe in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and we should be allowed to feed our fellow man,” Mr. Abbott told the station.

Mr. Abbott said he has received a wave of support from hundreds of people all over the world since his arrest.

“I am both enthused and humbled,” he told the station. “The good news is that there is pressure being put on the city of Fort Lauderdale to do something about a law that is not only unfair, it’s repressive.”

The city commission has been cracking down on homeless people, voting Oct. 22 to limit where outdoor feeding sites are located, as well requiring groups to provide the homeless with portable toilets.

Mayor Jack Seiler, who supports the ordinance, said the law is meant to help the homeless.

Mr. Abbott has decided that he doesn’t think these individuals should have to have any interaction with government, that they should be fed in the parks. We disagree,” Mr. Seiler told the ABC affiliate.

“It’s a pubic safety issue. It’s a public health issue,” he added. “The experts have all said that if you’re going to feed them to get them from breakfast to lunch to dinner, all you’re doing is enabling that cycle of homelessness. They don’t interact with anyone, they don’t receive the aid that they need.”

Mr. Abbott said he will continue to defy the ban.

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