Did you know you could be ticketed for feeding the homeless?
Apparently, you can.
Adele MacLean of Atlanta, Georgia, found herself in trouble with the law because she refused to stop distributing food to homeless people in Hurt Park.
According to Metro, MacLean works with an anti-capitalist group called Food not Bombs, and they regularly donate food to the homeless.
“We’ll feed probably at least maybe 100 people today,” MacLean said. “Why are they setting up barriers for taking care of human needs?”
The problem, however, is that it’s illegal in Atlanta to give food to the homeless without a food service establishment license. The regulation is reportedly in place in the interest of food safety.
"Those who feed outdoors with no facilities, sanitation, food safety to prevent food borne illness, and no order, create serious issues as hundreds gather for a meal," the Georgia State University police chief said in a statement.
MacLean was given a citation back in November for disobeying the ordinance. However, when she went to argue her case in front of an Atlanta Municipal Court judge, she learned that the city dropped the charges against her.
Despite being given a break this time, CBS News reports that she and other activists plan to continue feeding the homeless to challenge the ridiculous law.
While food safety regulations are important for everyone, including the homeless, one should not be punished for trying to be a good Samaritan. Instead of punishing MacLean, the police should have worked with her and her organization to help them obtain the necessary permit.
Additionally, it may be time for the city to take a second look at that law.