Drop Charges Against Elderly Man Who Fed the Homeless


Target: Jack Seiler, Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Goal: Dismiss criminal charges against three men for publicly feeding the hungry

A 90-year-old man in Florida is currently facing criminal charges for feeding the homeless on public property in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Arnold Abbott, along with two pastors, was arrested by police who yelled at the men to drop their plates as if they were weapons. The three men were given citations to appear in court. If found guilty, the men could face a 60-day jail sentence and a $500 fine.

Abbott is the owner of Love Thy Neighbor, Inc., a charity dedicated to helping the homeless and less fortunate in the Fort Lauderdale area. In 1999, he received similar charges, but fought them in court and won. This time, with the city’s new ordinances strictly outlining when, where, and how the homeless can be fed, Abbott stands less of a chance at winning his case. Despite the citations, the group plans to return to feeding the homeless within the week.

More cities across America are implementing unfair regulations that limit the public’s ability to share food with the less fortunate. The Fort Lauderdale government has recently outlawed sleeping downtown and begging for money at busy intersections. While the government says the laws are to help deal with a growing number of homeless people, these laws will do nothing but make the homeless less visible.

Rather than sweeping the problem out of the public eye, governments should be focusing on treating the cause of the problems, such as poverty and hunger. It is unfair to punish citizens for helping their fellows, particularly in areas where local governments have failed. Sign the petition below to demand that all charges are dropped against the three men.


Dear Mayor Jack Seiler,

An elderly man and two pastors were recently arrested for feeding the homeless on public property. They were cited to appear in court, where they could be sentenced to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500 if convicted.

Rather than helping the homeless, recent laws concerning vagrancy have only created an illusion of less homelessness by attempting to keep the less fortunate out of the public eye. These laws include a ban on sleeping downtown, a ban on begging for money at busy intersections, and more regulations on where and when charitable organizations may feed the hungry.

Where the Fort Lauderdale government has failed to address the issues at hand such as poverty and hunger, these three men have been criminally charged for attempting to fill the gaps. We, the undersigned, demand that these ridiculous and unfair charges be dropped, and that more effort is taken by the city to help the less fortunate.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Creative Commons

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  1. Rita Corica says:

    How dare you treat this and other homeless people with chagrin. You should be helping them survive and get back on their feet, WAKE UP AND LOOK AROUND. Would you treat blood relations like this??? This is what is wrong with humanity today. too much negativity and not enough helping the people of the world and help and educate them tto help themselves. So EVERY COUNTRY looks after their own people. Which it is how it is supposed to be.

  2. this is an absolute disgrace and shameful that u cannot help another human especially in these situations ,you should hang your head in shame I wonder if this was one of your family members would u be so ruthless food is something we all need a necessarity of life u make me very ashamed of being a human being

  3. Ravinder singh says:

    I have seen people who are rich don,t have heart only those who do not have much will share and have compassionate heart. Which SOB sitting on the chair have pressed charges.

  4. Repeal this law immediately.
    Have you no humanity??? The government works for the people, and when you turn your back on any of us, especially those in dire circumstances with little to no resources, we are turning our backs to you. Don’t expect to be in office much longer.

  5. wendy lee Williams says:

    What if you were jobless n homeless begging on the streets…..what goes around comes around. Have some sense of decency and provide justice for decent people. Drop those charges not your pants.

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