[Hpn] FW: FL: Effort To Feed Homeless Halted

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Fri, 19 Jan 2001 18:45:58 -0700


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From: DaytonBear@aol.com
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 13:36:46 EST
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: FL: Effort To Feed Homeless Halted


St. Petersburg (FL) Times

Effort to feed homeless halted

A man says Tampa police told him to stop serving meals to the homeless in a
makeshift soup kitchen on a dirt lot.

By KATHRYN WEXLER=20

Published January 19, 2001

TAMPA -- For 2 1/2 years, Jim Hobby has hauled card tables, folding chairs
and thermal containers of piping-hot food to a dirt lot at Adamo Drive and
19th Street.=20

There, beneath the buzzing Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, he has preached the
Gospel and fed the homeless up to four times a week.
On Sunday, a Tampa police officer pulled up beside Hobby's open-air,
makeshift dining room and told him to move along, said Hobby, standing
empty-handed Thursday beneath the overpass as a dozen hungry men looked on.

Hobby, 65, thinks police want to rid the city of homeless people before
out-of-town Super Bowl fans arrive.

"Who do they think they're fooling when they try to hide their crazy aunt i=
n
the back room?" Hobby asked. "None of the high rollers are stupid enough to
think Tampa doesn't have a homeless problem."

Police spokesman Joe Durkin said the coming game had nothing to do with it.

"It's not in relation to the Super Bowl," Durkin said. "They have to have a
permit."=20

Several months ago, Hobby said, police asked him whether his homespun
outreach program, called Footsoldiers Ministries, had a permit to serve
food.=20
Hobby said he contacted City Hall and was directed to Cynthia Miller, who
oversees audits and intergovernmental relations.

Permits weren't explored, Miller said. Instead, acting on the mayor's
behalf,=20
her goal was to show support for Hobby's efforts, she said.

"The meeting was about, let's just try to work together and not cause any
hardship for folks who need help," Miller said. Thursday, she said she was
unaware of Sunday's confrontation.

Hobby said he'll go quietly. A lay minister with a mobile home in Valrico
and=20
a full-time job selling industrial coatings and insulation, Hobby said he
doesn't want trouble.

"I did call the mayor's office but didn't make a connection," he said. "I
just decided not to fight it. Whether it's wrong or right, I'm just not in
the mood to get in the middle of it. They could arrest us and impound our
trailer or whatever."

A count of homeless people several years ago in Hillsborough turned up
3,600,=20
and advocates for the homeless say the number has grown.

Hobby chose the dirt lot in Ybor City because it is far enough from
businesses and homes that he wouldn't be disturbing anyone. He served one
daily meal Thursday through Sunday morning, and up to 140 people would
partake, he said. Much of the food was donated by small restaurants or
prepared by volunteers.

Hobby said he pays four or five men a few dollars to clean up the lot after
each meal.=20

"We leave it cleaner than we found it," he said.

Hobby said he'll look for another place to feed the homeless, probably
beyond=20
the city limits.=20

Thursday night, he came with bad news instead of food.

Many of the men said they hadn't eaten since noon and wouldn't have dinner
without Hobby's meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Some said they'd been turned
down for work by the daily labor pools for the past few days.

"I've got 19 cents," said Richard Holcomb, 54.

Several said Thursday night that they think the city wants them to disappea=
r
during the Super Bowl, and this is one more way to get them to go elsewhere=
.

"They're just trying to move everybody off," said Ricky Brown, 49.

As night fell and Hobby turned to leave on his red motorcycle, he looked
around at the small group that stood silently facing him.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "It just shouldn't happen, =
I
guess."=20


=A9 St. Petersburg Times





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FW: FL: Effort To Feed Homeless Halted   



----------
From: DaytonBear@aol.com
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 13:36:46 EST
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: FL: Effort To Feed Homeless Halted   


St. Petersburg (FL) Times

Effort to feed homeless halted


A man says Tampa police told him to stop serving meals to the homeless in a=
makeshift soup kitchen on a dirt lot.

By KATHRYN WEXLER

Published January 19, 2001

TAMPA -- For 2 1/2 years, Jim Hobby has hauled card tables, folding chairs =
and thermal containers of piping-hot food to a dirt lot at Adamo Drive and =
19th Street.

There, beneath the buzzing Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, he has preached the <= BR> Gospel and fed the homeless up to four times a week.
On Sunday, a Tampa police officer pulled up beside Hobby's open-air,
makeshift dining room and told him to move along, said Hobby, standing
empty-handed Thursday beneath the overpass as a dozen hungry men looked on.=

Hobby, 65, thinks police want to rid the city of homeless people before out-of-town Super Bowl fans arrive.

"Who do they think they're fooling when they try to hide their crazy a= unt in
the back room?" Hobby asked. "None of the high rollers are stupid= enough to
think Tampa doesn't have a homeless problem."

Police spokesman Joe Durkin said the coming game had nothing to do with it.=

"It's not in relation to the Super Bowl," Durkin said. "They= have to have a
permit."

Several months ago, Hobby said, police asked him whether his homespun
outreach program, called Footsoldiers Ministries, had a permit to serve foo= d.
Hobby said he contacted City Hall and was directed to Cynthia Miller, who <= BR> oversees audits and intergovernmental relations.

Permits weren't explored, Miller said. Instead, acting on the mayor's behal= f,
her goal was to show support for Hobby's efforts, she said.

"The meeting was about, let's just try to work together and not cause = any
hardship for folks who need help," Miller said. Thursday, she said she= was
unaware of Sunday's confrontation.

Hobby said he'll go quietly. A lay minister with a mobile home in Valrico a= nd
a full-time job selling industrial coatings and insulation, Hobby said he <= BR> doesn't want trouble.

"I did call the mayor's office but didn't make a connection," he = said. "I
just decided not to fight it. Whether it's wrong or right, I'm just not in =
the mood to get in the middle of it. They could arrest us and impound our <= BR> trailer or whatever."

A count of homeless people several years ago in Hillsborough turned up 3,60= 0,
and advocates for the homeless say the number has grown.

Hobby chose the dirt lot in Ybor City because it is far enough from
businesses and homes that he wouldn't be disturbing anyone. He served one <= BR> daily meal Thursday through Sunday morning, and up to 140 people would
partake, he said. Much of the food was donated by small restaurants or
prepared by volunteers.

Hobby said he pays four or five men a few dollars to clean up the lot after=
each meal.

"We leave it cleaner than we found it," he said.

Hobby said he'll look for another place to feed the homeless, probably beyo= nd
the city limits.

Thursday night, he came with bad news instead of food.

Many of the men said they hadn't eaten since noon and wouldn't have dinner =
without Hobby's meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Some said they'd been turned =
down for work by the daily labor pools for the past few days.

"I've got 19 cents," said Richard Holcomb, 54.

Several said Thursday night that they think the city wants them to disappea= r
during the Super Bowl, and this is one more way to get them to go elsewhere= .

"They're just trying to move everybody off," said Ricky Brown, 49= .

As night fell and Hobby turned to leave on his red motorcycle, he looked around at the small group that stood silently facing him.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "It just sho= uldn't happen, I
guess."


=A9 St. Petersburg Times



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