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Ministry Group Claims Police Threatened To Arrest Them For Feeding Homeless

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Hugh Hollowell telling homeless people the ministry would not be allowed to feed them. (credit: Love Wins Ministries)

Hugh Hollowell telling homeless people the ministry would not be allowed to feed them. (credit: Love Wins Ministries)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — Raleigh police have stopped charities from feeding the homeless at a public square.

A police officer told Love Wins Ministries not to hand out breakfast biscuits Saturday morning. The group has been doing that for six years.

“The city has no provision for these people being fed on Saturdays or Sundays,” said Hugh Hollowell, founder of the ministry.

Hollowell posted on the Love Wins Ministries’ blog that he had to tell over 70 people that they couldn’t feed them.

“Our partner church brought 100 sausage biscuits and large amounts of coffee. We asked the officers for permission to disperse the biscuits to the over 70 people who had lined up, waiting to eat. They said no,” Hollowell wrote. “I had to face those who were waiting and tell them that I could not feed them, or I would be arrested.”

Hollowell said an officer threatened to put him behind bars if he fed the homeless.

“When I asked the officer why, he said that he was not going to debate me. ‘I am just telling you what is. Now you pass out that food, you will go to jail,’” Hollowell said.

Distributing food in parks without a permit violates a city ordinance.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Sunday a city council committee will address the situation this week. McFarlane says neither she nor the council were involved in the decision to stop the meals.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Sunday that no arrests have been made of those feeding the homeless. He says those running the food programs were simply told about the city ordinance.

Sughrue says some of the ministries are developing alternative locations.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin chairs the Law and Public Safety Committee that will review the situation.

“I feel horrible that this happened. I want to find a solution that is collaborative so that we’re doing the smart thing as well as the right thing,” Baldwin said Sunday.

Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen serves lunch to the hungry during the week and the Salvation Army provides dinner.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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