26 August 2013

Love Wins... always

I wish I could bop the state of North Carolina on the nose. I’m not advocating violence. I mean like how you gently bop a puppy on the nose with a rolled up paper when you’re trying to house train it. Or I wish I could spritz it with water from a water bottle like you do your cat when it keeps jumping up where it doesn’t belong. Nothing to do any harm at all... I’d never, ever do that... but just something to express my irritation and the deep need to change its behavior since North Carolina is now riding the crazy train.
For today’s daily dose of N.C. insanity comes a report about Love Wins Ministries, an organization that has been feeding the homeless in downtown Raleigh for the past six years on Saturday and Sunday. However, this Saturday when the good volunteers showed up, the police stopped them from serving and said if they tried to hand out any food, they would be arrested.
So instead of handing out the 100 church biscuits and coffee to the 70 hungry, homeless people who were waiting in line, and could not doubt smell the deliciousness of both the biscuits and the coffee, the volunteers had to take their food and leave. Absolutely crazy. 
According to Love Wins, the organization’s relationship with the Raleigh Police had always been just fine until Saturday. They knew where they could or could not go without a permit and everyone was happy, especially the hungry people who got food. On Saturday, the police told them they would now need a permit, which cost $800/day (so $1,600 for the weekend), but not to worry, they probably wouldn’t get approved for the permit anyway. No one could tell them why the rules had arbitrarily changed. 
Smartly Love Wins took to social media and asked people to call the mayor and city council members. And apparently, they did in big numbers. By today, Mayor Nancy McFarlane has suspended any threat of arrest for Love Wins and that the organization could continue to serve people as long as it stayed outside of the park, which is does. However, there’s been no explanation as to why this happened on Saturday. 
As I’ve written this blog for eight months now, I’m continually shocked at how hard it can be to do good. There are random roadblocks thrown up that can derail a perfectly fine plan. This is one of those cases. Yes, it looks like it’s been worked out, but for a weekend, these homeless people had nothing to eat. Love Wins points out that there is no county or city soup kitchen operating on the weekend (I don’t know if there are private non-profits doing so), so Love Wins may be the homeless people’s only chance for a meal. 
Shouldn’t we be making it easier for organizations like Love Wins to do their job instead of harder? 
Aug. 26: Love Wins

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