BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Two Christian ministries in Alabama are dismayed at the actions of local law enforcement after they were recently stopped from feeding the homeless due to a new ordinance centering around food trucks.
“I’m just so totally shocked that the city is turning their back on the homeless like this,” Pastor Rick Wood told local television station WBMA. “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.”
Wood, who pastors The Lord’s House of Prayer in Oneonta, has been feeding the poor and homeless in Birmingham every Saturday for the past six years. He delivers hot dogs and bottled water from a truck that features a decal citing Matthew 25:35-40, which speaks of Jesus’ command to care for the hungry.
However, Wood says that he was approached by Birmingham police two weeks ago as he was conducting an outreach in Linn Park and was told to cease operations because he did not have a permit. The cost for a permit, which must be obtained from the Health Department, is between $300 and $500.
Reports state that police had referred to an ordinance surrounding food trucks, which was enacted when area restaurants complained that some vendors were taking away their business. The new law, which was passed in December, regulates when and where food trucks can park. It mentions nothing of meals that are distributed for free to the homeless.