Legalize Feeding the Homeless

Target: Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa

Goal: Repeal law requiring a costly permit and insurance to give food to people who are homeless.

Seven activists were arrested in Tampa recently; their crime: feeding homeless people without a permit. Despite the fact that Tampa has one of the highest rates of homelessness in America, city bylaws require nonprofits to apply for costly permits. The permit application process includes deposits and fees and requires organizations to acquire at least $1 million liability insurance. This effectively makes it very hard to operate a nonprofit aimed at feeding people who are homeless as the cost of the permit absorbs money intended for buying food.

Not only does this law punish people who are homeless or in need of food rather than working to try and solve the problem of homelessness in Tampa, it also requires law enforcement to waste time enforcing it. Sign our petition to demand that the Tampa municipal government repeal the law requiring a permit to feed people who are homeless.


Dear Mayor Buckhorn,

I was shocked to hear of the arrest of seven volunteers, all members of the Food Not Bombs organization. While I recognize that they violated municipal law by feeding Tampa residents who are homeless, these arrests are a waste of law enforcement resources and do not serve the public good. Furthermore, these arrests do nothing to address the issue of homelessness in Tampa and may, in fact, exacerbate the problem as it will cause vulnerable people go hungry which can decrease the prospects of them exiting homelessness.

The process of applying for a permit is costly as is acquiring the $1 million in liability insurance. This effectively diverts funds donated to and raised by nonprofits to feed people who are homeless to the government, reducing the effectiveness of these organizations. This law punishes the most vulnerable residents of your city and does little to address underlying issues contributing to homelessness. I urge you to repeal the law and allow nonprofits and charitable organizations like Food Not Bombs to provide warm meals to people who are homeless.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Matthew Woitunski

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  1. Brenda Denno says:

    This money grab and callous treatment of the homeless needs to stop. It’s an abuse of power. It’s a way for bullies to bully the neediest people in society. And it’s a way to label as criminals the caring and empathetic people of society. I ask, with others, for an end to this corruption that is creeping throughout America and certain other countries as well (such as Canada).

  2. Anne Moeller says:

    stop waisting time and money on prosecuting kind and caring people who help those in need and prosecute real criminals. Anne Moeller- ps- bless those who care and give.

  3. KatWrangler says:

    Instead of arresting people who are trying to make a positive difference, go after real criminals. When did having compassion become a crime?
    BS convoluted logic.

  4. Rhona LaBruzzo says:

    Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa
    What? Have I died and gone to a ‘test hell’? It is against the law to feed the homeless people? Get out. If this is true then I don’t wand you making any decisions for me. Nope, none at all. You violate everything that is good here in the US. I am sure that your parents are rolling over in their graves unless they live in Tampa. How selfish. How low. How uneducated. Loving the power, I see. You do know that it won’t you off the hook in the next life. I’d pray for that fictitious ant hill before I’d pray for your kind.


  6. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    poverty is criminal. feeding is not a crime but denying to feed is criminal.

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