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West Palm Beach church fears noise complaints will hurt feeding operation

Posted at 4:09 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 18:36:45-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A church and non-profit organization are helping prepare thousands of meals for people who are hungry and down on their luck during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the operation is getting complaints about noise, and the church fears this feeding operation could be shut down.

Inside the sanctuary at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach, pictures of parishioners fill the pews, an absent congregation because of the coronavirus.

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But beyond the stained glass windows, Palm Beach Harvest is working at maximum speed.

The non-profit organization is using the church's kitchen to prepare fresh hot meals and transport bulk food to the Glades and other communities in need.

"We're sending out about 44 pallets of food that can equate to maybe 80,000 to 85,000 pounds of fresh produce, milk, eggs," said Deborah Morgan with Palm Beach Harvest.

To keep up with the increased demand, two trailers were brought in, refrigeration units to store perishable food.

The problem is that the church said someone in the neighborhood has complained about the noise, leading to two verbal warnings from code enforcement.

"We tried to move the trucks that were making the amount of noise. That was one of the initial parts of the complaint," said Rev. Roger Richardson.

Richardson said the church also cleaned the dumpster and increased pickups from the city. He added they're trying to be a good neighbor and are letting neighbors know the noise is only temporary.

"We hope that they truly know that we are trying to do what we can and lift a light up out of this neighborhood that is going to be seen by all that we are working together," said Richardson.

"We're feeding people in a pandemic emergency situation. Nothing is normal right now and if they could only understand that we're doing some really good here in the community to help people eat," said Morgan.

The reverend also wrote a letter to neighbors, thanking them for their patience and to let him know if they have any concerns. He fears if they receive another complaint it will lead to a fine and possibly prevent them from helping to feed the hungry.