Chosen 300 served homeless dinner after judge ruling

PHILADELPHIA - July 14, 2012

The city's ban on feeding the homeless outside went into effect four months ago, but many groups were doing it anyway illegally.

Saturday's dinner was the first time organizers were able to serve food to the less fortunate without looking over their shoulders.

Some say there has never been so much controversy and turmoil over breaking bread in the City of Brotherly Love

"Since 1996 we've served in this particular park," said Brian Jenkins. "We believe that this is where God chose us to minister to these people."

Chosen 300 Ministries had the meal lines going again to feed the homeless in Center City.

The dinner at 16th Street and Ben Franklin Parkway came just two days after Federal Judge William Yohn temporarily blocked the city's effort to stop the feeding of homeless people outdoors.

It was a major setback for the ordinance by Mayor Michael Nutter who said that there is a potential health risk, among other things, like the appearance of the feedings in the Center City district.

"We are committed and not deterred at all in our efforts to address the many challenges that people face when they are homeless," said Mayor Nutter.

The judge ruled the city showed no evidence that they plan to feed the less fortunate was better than the way it was done by groups like Chosen 300.

"It's exciting, it's exciting. It is a testament to our faith; it is a testament to the freedoms of our constitution," said Jenkins.

Residents and tourists say they understand both sides of the issue.

"It's a lot safer than eating out of the garbage can. It's a lot safer than that, and a lot of them do," said Alan Price.

It's real life, and that's a part of the city too," said Jesse Resnick. "But for those coming to see the sites, I guess it's not the most glamorous thing to see."

While it may appear to be a setback for the city, Mayor Nutter says they are not defeated, because the judge has not made a final decision.

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