WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For the past 16 years, Food Not Bombs has been serving food, including lasagna, to the homeless every Saturday in downtown West Palm Beach.
Food Not Bombs is a worldwide organization that shares food with the hungry in more than 1,000 cities in 654 countries in protest to war, poverty and destruction of the environment.
But a recent ordinance approved by the City Council requires a permit for large group feeding events. If the permit is violated, the group said individual members face the possibility of a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.
Spokeswoman Carl Prinzio said her group will reject this permit requirement, calling it a blatant attack on their freedom of expression.
"It’s definitely just straight up awful," she said. "It’s ridiculous. You are criminalizing people for sharing food with the hungry, really? Of all the different issues you could be tackling in the city of west palm beach, this is what your spending your resources on?
"Why not address the issues of food insecurity, affordable housing. Those are what causes the problems that we have so they are just out of their mind coming after us for sharing food. It makes no sense for any of us.
The group said it has no plans of stopping, rain or shine, and will fight the city in court if it gets to that point.
"Fundamentally what Food Not Bombs stands for is we are going to share food whether the city of West Palm Beach passes stupid ordinance they want to," Prinzio said. "
WPTV reached out to the city for comment but is waiting to hear back.
"We always meet here, every Saturday at 4:30," she said. "We’re very consistent. People know where to find us, where to expect us. So that’s a very important part of what we do."