The Raleigh (North Carolina) Police Department threatened to arrest members of a nonprofit religious group while they fed the local homeless population this past Saturday, according to a spokesman for Love Wins Ministries. Rev. Hugh Hollowell, pastor and Director of Love Wins, said that volunteers from his group were handing out coffee and sausage biscuits to several dozen homeless in downtown Raleigh when the police arrived.
“This morning we showed up at Moore Square at 9:00 a.m., just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years,” wrote Rev. Hollowell. “Today, officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever.”
If the group continued to distribute meals, Hollowell reported, they would have been arrested.
A Raleigh Police department spokesman said that Love Wins was violating a city ordinance because they had not obtained a permit. The ordinance states:
No individuals or group shall serve or distribute meals or food of any kind in or on any City park or greenway unless such distribution is pursuant to a permit issued by the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Director.
According to area news network WRAL, this is not the first time the cops have broken up an effort to feed the hungry. A group called “Human Beans Together” had to move their volunteers across the street from Moore Square. “We had lots of volunteers and lots of hungry people and nowhere to go,” a member of the group said.
Police justified the crackdown by claiming that there has been excessive litter in public parks on Monday mornings. Both volunteer groups denied the allegations.