Thou shalt not feed the poor! Unless I say so
Dear Mayor Stephens and members of the City Council,
My name is Calvin Morrow, and I am the executive director of CUPA (Christians Uniting for Political Action). I am writing you in regards to COUNCIL BILL 2013-323.
A general ordinance amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 58, Health and Sanitation, Article II Food and Food Establishments, Division 2, Restaurants, by adopting a new section prohibiting the distribution of food without a permit in the COM-1, Commercial Street District, COM-2, Commercial Street District and CC, Center City District.
I am requesting that you postpone the vote until the parties that this bill affects the most get an opportunity to offer alternatives to the current proposal.
I have several reasons why this is not the best way to handle the poor or obstruct those who love and serve them.
- This bill will put all individuals on the same level as a food establishment or restaurant, which could open the door to regulate them out of serving the poor. In effect, they would be prohibited from distributing food unless they could navigate through the maze of regulations.
- The health concerns may be over blown. Health concerns become a real problem when the homeless are reduced to eating out of trash cans.
- It is not in the best interest of this council to be perceived as cleaning up downtown by discarding of the poor.
- It is not in the best interest of this council to be perceived as punishing those who give of their time and money to love those who are lost and hurting. Feeding the poor is overwhelmingly administered by the churches and individual Christians in the Springfield area. Therefore, the net result will be that the city government grants permission to the Church in regards to how to love and serve others. Some of the churches are already feeling targeted and marginalized for the good that they do and it is my assumption that this is not the intentions of this council.
I believe that the churches and other groups and individuals in Springfield should be given more time to consult amongst themselves and meet with merchants to propose something that may be more of a win-win scenario for all the citizens of Springfield.
It would be disastrous if through legislation, the unfortunate would be put in a worse situation. The Apostle Paul was admonished the other Apostles to remember the poor. Therefore, I ask this council to abandon the vote or put forth a proposal that would not forget the poor or punish the Church while improving the city.
Please find below the names of pastors and other community leaders in support of the position represented in this letter on the signature page.
CUPA (Christians Uniting For Political Action)