Church Group Targeted By City For Feeding Homeless

Mikael Thalen
by
December 5th, 2013
Updated 12/06/2013 at 5:43 am

A street ministry in Olympia, Washington focused on feeding the homeless is currently fighting attempts to have their work criminalized by the city.

Ben Charles, founder of Crazy Faith Ministries, has fed the area’s homeless population every Thursday and Saturday from the same parking lot for the last two years, handing out as many as 5,000 meals per month.

Ben Charles at a recent Street Feed

Ben Charles at a recent Street Feed

“As anyone who works with the impoverished will know, the best and sometimes the only way to help them is to meet them right where they are, rather than expect them to come to you,” said Charles.

Although the group has had a long and highly supported presence in the area, complaints began arising regarding issues such as vehicle traffic being blocked from the growing number of hungry people coming to be fed. In October, Charles received notice from the Olympia Police Department that his group would no longer be allowed to use the lot, although unable to cite any law broken.

Despite the city’s attempts, Crazy Faith politely declined to comply, saying the lot was the only area available to use. Charles, who is of Native American decent, refused to give up the Native tradition of helping others in his community.

“We and our street family are the public and we are peacefully gathering together for our common good. That is the birthright not only of Native people, but the constitutional right of all Washingtonians,” Charles said.

Unsuccessful in getting the group to vacate, the city is now attempting to use red-tape and bureaucracy by passing a new ordinance that would require the group to purchase permits for any activity in city-owned parking lots. Using any lot without permission from the city government could result in fines and jail time.

During a Tuesday City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to send the ordinance to a second reading, opposing ministry supporters in attendance.

“The City Council should be deeply ashamed that it would even consider attempting to block off this property so that it can only be used by people with cars or people who first get the government’s permission,” Charles said.

Groups such as Washington state’s Freedom Foundation have taken notice, prompting them to offer their full support to Charles and the ministry.

“We have been following the nationwide trend of governments cracking down on private acts of charity for a while now and we see it happening in our own backyard,” Dave Roland, attorney and director of the Stiles Center for Liberty at the Freedom Foundation told Storyleak.

“We have a young man who is doing his best to fulfill the highest calling for both Americans and Christians to provide for people in need and the government is saying, ‘only on our terms.’ We think that is a huge constitutional problem and that is why we decided to reach out to Charles and try to help.”

According to city manager Steve Hall, the proposed ordinance is about enhancing public safety, not about targeting the ministry for feeding homeless, despite the group being allowed to do so for years.

“If you want to use public property, you need to get a temporary use permit, obstruction permit or a festival event permit,” Hall said. “This ensures that the activity can be conducted safely and balances the rights of all interested parties rather than one group taking over public space without process or clear expectations.”

According to Charles, Hall also promised to stay in touch with the ministry in hopes to come to a solution, but has failed to do so for several months.

“Steve Hall’s last words were,’we will be in touch with you’ and nothing has been attempted in any way shape or form from the city since October. Yet they email people back and say we refuse to meet with them. We have never been offered a solution or contacted,” Charles said.

A second reading for the proposed ordinance is set for 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Olympia City Hall.

The situation in Olympia is strikingly similar to many others occurring across the country at a growing rate. Just last month, a church group in Lake Worth, FL was kicked out of a public park by a park ranger for feeding homeless residents.

Similar to Crazy Faith, the secular group “Food Not Bombs” defied orders from the city of Orlando after a 2011 federal appeals court ruling granted them the ability to restrict any group feeding the homeless.

As the economy continues to weaken, pushing more Americans into hardship, civil disobedience has become increasingly prevalent, as individuals choose helping the less-fortunate over obeying countless regulations and commands.

 

Share Button

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Constitution, Faith, Injustice

Mikael Thalen

About the Author ()

Mikael is the lead features writer at Storyleak.com. His articles have been featured on sites such as the Drudge Report, Infowars and Natural News. During his time at Examiner.com, he was frequently ranked the number one political writer.

Comments (49)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. fukushima says:

    thank you guys for exposing this

  2. Roger says:

    The lot is the cities, and the people using it ARE the city.

    Tyranny is always ugly, and it seems to be gaining strength at local levels.
    Something has to give. And the homeless won't be any less needy or hungry if the city shuts this down for what ever reason.

  3. WeeToddEdwards says:

    "Crazy Faith Ministries"

    They are crazy, most religious people are

    • Roger Russell says:

      In a ‘not so crazy’ world the police would see their duty to control the traffic if is is causing problems and to be there to ensure the safety of those involved.

      Not to decide if the legal activity is to be tolerated by the ‘state’.

      We are the state, the people are what make this nation not the PD.

      • WeeToddEdwards says:

        All they have to do is get a permit.

        “If you want to use public property, you need to get a temporary use permit, obstruction permit or a festival event permit,”

        Why should these crazies be above the law?

        • Roger says:

          And the Nazi's would let people travel as long as they had papers.

          Are we a free people with the government working for us, or is it the other way around?

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            So in other words we shoudl just abondon laws you don't agree with. These permits are put in place for a reason. Public safety and sanitary conditions come to mind. What id they did not follow proper cooking procedures or food safety and gots lots of people sick?

            That is why we have these permits.

          • Roger says:

            Why do you think I ever meant that?

            In the US a free people means we are the boss, the government is here to work for us. When government pretends they are the final word then it is time for the people to start local recalls to restore that balance.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            These permits were put in place because they DO work for us. These permits are usually put in place by a city council. These permits ensure the organization follows proper sanitary conditions.

            As I said before if this was a muslim group that got kicked out for feeding the poor you would be happy

          • Salty says:

            True, but if you are ever hungry you dont care if there is a permit or not. When your hungry you will be glad for all the help you get. Also these permits will be used to hinder not help.

          • Roger says:

            Exactly, and if the permits don't reflect the will of the people then they need to go.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            Until the tainted food you get makes you sick or kills you. Then the law suits will happen. These permits are required to make sure you follow proper food safety and use sanitary conditions.

            Let me ask you ask you this. Should food manufactures and resturants not have any food safety requirments?

          • Roger says:

            This story was clear that the food quality wasn't the issue.

            The issue was more that it was a church group.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            My comment was not addressed to you. Al they had to do was get a permit.
            Not that hard to do. Why should they be above the law? Because they are crazy christians?

          • Roger says:

            Wee, the story isn't that at all. The story was about a city wanting to shut down the free food since it was a church. The permits may nor may not have been issues. But it was rather selective enforcement.

            Do you think that the illegal immigrants in the DC mall during the shut down were told they needed permits?

            Equality under the law, even for religious groups. It's called justice.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            Not according to the article:
            "According to city manager Steve Hall, the proposed ordinance is about enhancing public safety, not about targeting the ministry for feeding homeless, despite the group being allowed to do so for years."

            Read more: http://www.storyleak.com/wash-church-group-target

          • Roger says:

            Of course that's what they say. But this isn't 'the first story on this topic on this site.

            This wasn't the first attempt to shut down the church food outreach.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            Prove it

          • Roger says:

            Try reading the fourth paragraph.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            Prove that what "they" say is a lie.

            Blocking traffic is a huge safety concern.

          • Roger says:

            And standing in an empty lot is just standing in an empty lot. You said to prove my point and I referred you to the paragraph that did so.

            Didn't you actually read the story?

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            You did not prove what "they" said is a lie.Reports of them blocking traffic is a safety concern. Why should this church be above the law?

            Hell I suppose they should be allowed to kill people too.

          • Roger says:

            Descending into the absurd again?

            Go back and re-read the thread and the story. When you are ready for actual debate and intelligent conversation try it again.

            A church is part of the city and the city wants to restrict them. All of a sudden you changed your argument from food safety to traffic concerns. The police are there to provide traffic direction if the need arises. The people pay for the police, they are the boss, not the other away around.
            Some cities even post 'to protect and serve' on the police cars to help foster cooperation between citizens and law enforcement.

            Totalitarian regimes even on a city level are tyranny.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            It has been a food safety and public safety concern. Police have more important things to do then direct traffic.

            The FACT is they need a permit like everyone else

          • Roger says:

            The fact is that they want to shut the church down and this is only one of the excuses they have tried using.

            The story is very clear.
            And the most important thing any police dept can do is keep people safe.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            Any place that calls themselves "crazy" needs watched.

            You're right about the police though and that is why make places get permits

          • Roger says:

            Permits are given out for a variety of reasons. It lets the police know how to staff for the event, to generate revenue, and also so they have a chance to limit the activities or even so they have the chance to deny the event by turning down the permits.

            In this case they have been looking for a way to shut down the event, even if there haven't been problems.

            If this was a rally for illegal aliens would they work so hard to shut it down? I doubt it.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            But it says right in the article it has been becoming a problem.

          • Roger says:

            And the police are there to protect and serve.

            What is your problem with the hungry getting food?

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            I have no problem with them getting food. What I do have a problem with is church groups thinking they are above the law.

          • Roger says:

            So were you agains the founding fathers? Against the abolitionist movement, or against civil rights?

            Sometimes justice and 'right' show a city regime need to be taken on.

            And hungry people needing food from a group willing to provide it is the most basic of 'right' and people just doing what needs done.

            That's what makes this country great.

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            I agree with them. Why are you against churches following the law?

            If this were a bunch of muzzies doing this you would want them to have a permit. Equality is a good thing. Too bad you hate that

          • Roger says:

            Why are you against any group of people who are organized as a church standing for 'the right thing' where hungry people are involved?

            When government works against the people then it needs to be taken on and the laws changed. That's a list of things I already pointed out and you just pretended to support.

            It was quakers in the free states that kept pushing for abolition of slavery, are you still for the abolitionist movement even knowing a church supported it?

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            The government is not working against them. They are trying to ensure the people's safety.

          • Roger says:

            Of course it's working against them. The people with food want to feed those without. And the government wants to stop that good and noble act.

            Do you think segregation was just government working to ensure the people's safety?

          • WeeToddEdwards says:

            So making sure the food is safe and proper food safety procedures are followed so these poor people don't get sick is working against them? Everyone else has to get a permit. Why shoud teh church be above the law?

          • Roger says:

            I thought you were arguing about traffic? Then you argued about laws, now you're talking about food safety?

            What is safer for the homeless hungry, food from a dumpster or fresh hot food from these folks?

      • patriothere says:

        We pay taxes so we can have police.

    • Mark Blaker says:

      Takes one to know one! Lol………..;)

  4. Donna says:

    Well, Goes to show you that some people would rather that the helpless and homeless would disappear from off the face of the earth! Some times you can't figure out the waste of money that they use to pass a bill that isn't in any law book. To save the good of mankind! Fix the system and figure out how to help not hinder. And spend that money on help feed those families. I am praying God puts the fear of God into naysayers! What a laugh they are! Keep up the Good work Ben and Denise and all of the volunteers. You are making a difference in these peoples lives.

  5. Barbara says:

    If there are any businesses surrounding that immediate area, it could be them complaining about it ruining their businesses. Other than that, cities are always looking for more ways to make money. Even feeding the homeless in parks can require a paid permit and food handlers license. The city government makes more money that way.

  6. C. Gonzo says:

    It amazes me how a piece of paper (aforementioned permit) makes everyone safer. That must be some really special paper there. Just another fascist scam to suck away more money that could be used to actually help people.

  7. As the economy continues to weaken, pushing more Americans into hardship, civil disobedience has become increasingly prevalent, as individuals choose helping the less-fortunate over obeying countless regulations and commands.

  8. ivil disobedience has become increasingly prevalent

  9. it could be them complaining about it ruining their businesses. Other than that

  10. Eyes_Open says:

    Some glaring mistakes in the article, in order to try to muster sympathy for the “cause”.

    “Charles received notice from the Olympia Police Department that his group would no longer be allowed to use the lot, although unable to cite any law broken.”

    It clearly states in the same paragraph that, “complaints began arising regarding issues such as vehicle traffic being blocked from the growing number of hungry people.”

    Obstructing the flow of traffic is a misdemeanor crime.

    And Charles’ own words don’t reflect what is happening, “the best and sometimes the only way to help them is to meet them right where they are, rather than expect them to come to you,”

    Well, if there are a growing number of people coming to him, then obviously they will come to you, you don’t have to go to them.

    And the gratuitous use of pointing out that he is a Native American is ridiculous, especially when the attorney for the Freedom Foundation is quoted as describing his as a “young man who is doing his best to fulfill the highest calling for both Americans and Christians.” So which demographic are you trying to play up, Native Americans that were screwed over by the European Christians that came here, or the “American Christians” that are descendant from the Europeans?

    Please don’t get me wrong, I applaud what he is trying to do, and I don’t think the government should interfere with people trying to help their fellow man, especially in these trying times. But it needs to be done with respect and consideration for the other people that are affected. If it is causing traffic problems to the point that people are late to work or picking up their kids from school/daycare, then he is causing undue problem for them, possibly putting their jobs at risk of costing them more money in the form of fees for not picking their kids up on time. As far as permits, if he is taking up more than one or two parking spaces, he should have a permit, anyone else would have to do the same. Can you imagine setting up a carousel in a parking lot without a permit? No one would expect the city to allow that, and space is space, regardless of what it is used for.

  11. Very good post.I am concerned in evolving your subscriber therefore please keep me updated. I notice the thoughts and attitudes of this blogger terribly inspiring and very value following. This time we got the following target number crossword puzzle clue.Free facilitate with problem puzzles, anagrams and cryptograms search to hunt out answers to draw back clue Free draw back thinker. Get facilitate resolution those powerful clues in your draw back search through thousands of draw back answers.

  12. Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I’m inspired!
    Very helpful info particularly the ultimate part :) I deal with
    such info much. I was looking for this certain information for
    a long time. Thanks and good luck.

  13. Moises says:

    call the city that you live in ..they should be able to give you all the info you need..or tell you where to get petimrs & where the permit office is you can explain what you have inmind to them good luck .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *