A new law in Birmingham, Alabama is making it extremely difficult for churches to feed the city’s homeless population.
A pastor in the city, Rick Wood of The Lord’s House of Prayer, said that police have been preventing him and other Christians from doing their God-like duties of helping the disadvantaged because they didn’t have a permit to do so.
According to Wood, police told him that he needed to have a permit from the Health Department declaring his operation as an official “food truck” in order to distribute food to them, even though they’re not paying for it and it’s in a public park.
“That makes me so mad. These people are hungry. They’re starving,” he said. “They need help from people. They can’t afford to buy something from a food truck.”
Apparently his truck, while not technically a vendor, is governed under the new regulations that the city of Birmingham adopted back in December. The law came as a result of restaurant owners in the area complaining that food trucks were stealing their business, and it basically tells the food trucks when and where they’re allowed to engage in business.
According to reports, the law doesn’t once mention charity work or the feeding of the poor or the homeless, however it requires vendors to pay between $300 and $500 for a permit and they must stay at least 150 feet away from other restaurants. Additionally they’re only allowed to serve food during specified hours.
Regardless of the law, Wood says that he and other Christians in the area will continue to what they have always done and feed the homeless who are in need.
“I’m just so totally shocked that the city is turning their back on the homeless like this,” the preacher added. “It’s like they want to chase them out of the city. And the homeless can’t help the position they’re in. They need help.”