Tags: America's Forum | Florida | cited for feeding homeless

Pastor Cited for Feeding Homeless: We're Better Than This

By    |   Friday, 14 Nov 2014 03:16 PM

Pastor Mark Sims, who was cited in Fort Lauderdale along with another pastor and a 90-year-old World War II veteran for violating city ordinances while feeding the homeless, tells Newsmax that "we are so much better than this in Southeast Florida."

"We can do better," Sims, pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, told Ric Blackwell and Morgan Thompson on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Friday.

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"We really can use this as an opportunity to maybe start with a clean sheet of paper and start all over again and use the hospitality that we have, that we're famous for in Florida and southeast Florida and be able to extend a hand to everyone, not just people who are tourists, but everyone who lives down here," he explained.

Sims, Pastor Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale and World War II veteran Arnold Abbott were cited on Nov. 2 over a city ordinance that went into effect on Oct. 31 that bans people from giving out food in public. They are each faced with a $500 fine and 60-days in jail. 

"It's a crime because the city ordinance forbids us from feeding the homeless out in the open," Sims said. 

"With the restrictions that they have put into place and some of the restrictions are the requirements that we provide a bathroom for them, that we provide hand washing stations for them, and they even want some sort of hedge built up around the area so that they don't see it," he added.

Despite the charges, Sims tells Newsmax that "it's been absolutely rewarding to see that people from all over the world, across the United States are incredibly supportive of our efforts to try to continue to feed the homeless."

A lawsuit was filed against the city on behalf of the two pastors and Abbott on Thursday.

"We are suing the city to try to . . . overturn the ordinance, and also to defend me in court from the fine of $500 and 60-days in jail for feeding someone who is hungry," he explained.

"This lawsuit is going to be a great start and my hope is that we can just step back and take a breather, let the city of Fort Lauderdale step back and take a breather and let's really take a look at how we're going to try to address and solve this problem," he said.

"One of the things the city of Fort Lauderdale is trying to do is they want everyone fed inside, and there simply are not enough beds available," he added.

Sims says that Abbott, who runs Love Thy Neighbor Fund, Inc., an interfaith group that serves the homeless in South Florida, "is not shaken up at all."

"He's 90-years-old as he'll tell you, he is a World War II veteran, he said 'I stormed the beaches of Italy and this is nothing,' " he said. 

"He fought the civil rights movement and he considers this a civil rights issue," he added.

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Pastor Mark Sims, who was cited in Fort Lauderdale along with another pastor and a 90-year-old World War II veteran for violating city ordinances while feeding the homeless, tells Newsmax that "we are so much better than this in Southeast Florida."
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Friday, 14 Nov 2014 03:16 PM
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