Arnold Abbott is the head of the group Love Thy Neighbor, and has been providing free food to the homeless for more than 20 years. He was arrested on Sunday, along with two pastors, for violating a new city ordinance that effectively outlaws sharing food with homeless people in public.
After his arrest, Abbott said he was undeterred in his mission to provide free food to the needy. He proved as much on Wednesday, when he and his group headed to Fort Lauderdale Beach and again dished out free food.
Police again stopped Abbott from feeding the homeless.
“I would like to thank you all for your continued support, kind comments, and heartfelt thoughts. Tonight I post with a grateful heart because we were allowed to feed our people on Fort Lauderdale Beach, although I was eventually pulled away by a slew of officers to be given a citation yet again,” Abbott wrote on Facebook.
But this time, police decided not to arrest the elderly homeless advocate. He had his fingerprints taken and was issued a citation.
Mayor Jack Seiler told Local 10 that the new ordinance is meant to help the homeless and ensure public safety.
“The experts have all said that if you’re going to feed them to get them from breakfast to lunch to dinner, all you’re doing is enabling that cycle of homelessness. They don’t interact with anyone, they don’t receive the aid that they need,” he explained.
Abbott is calling on his supports to contact the mayor and urge him to work towards repealing the law.
“We at Love Thy Neighbor would like to urge you all to please continue to send emails, and make phone calls to the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale Mr. Jack Seiler. He can be reached at 954-828-5003 or via e-mail at [email protected] Once again, I say thanks to you all, your messages continue to move my soul,” Abbott wrote on Facebook.
He also told Local 10 he would continue feeding the homeless, despite the new ordinance.
“It’s our right to feed people, it’s our First Amendment right and I believe in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and we should be allowed to feed our fellow man,” Abbott said.