David Biesack: At the core

August 26, 2013 

At the core

Regarding the Aug. 26 article “Mayor pledges ‘solution’ after police stop some charities feeding Raleigh homeless”: For years, governments have been cutting services to the poor, stating that churches and volunteer organizations can and should fill in the gap. Now trying to do just that – feeding the homeless and food-insecure – is punishable by arrest in Raleigh.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane claims that “city leaders had not been involved in the decision to end the weekend food distribution,” but the police are taking their direction from somewhere.

In the past, our group (active for 21 years) negotiated an amiable and workable arrangement with the city and police in Raleigh: We distribute food on the sidewalk (not in the park) and leave the site cleaner than we found it. So what has changed? The problem is not the hungry in Raleigh nor is it the volunteers. The problem is hunger.

The solution is not “to end the weekend food distribution” or to hide it. The solution is to address the root causes of hunger: unemployment, long-term disabilities, mental illness, inadequate housing. Many have worked for decades toward those solutions, and we invite the City of Raleigh and the Raleigh police to join us.

David Biesack


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