Robert Gehl reports that for the last several years, a California church has been doing the Christian thing and feeding people who are down on their luck.
Every Wednesday, members of the United Methodist Church in Malibu serve as many as 100 homeless. They’ve been doing this since 2014.
So when the city sent them a letter asking for a meeting, they thought that city leaders were going to offer their support. Quite the opposite happened, though.
City officials told church members to stop feeding the homeless. Right after Thanksgiving.
CBS Los Angeles spoke to the homeless who received the blessing from church members:
“It’s a safe place,” says Michah Johnson who is homeless, “and everyone is welcome. And the food is really good. It’s home-cooked. And there’s TLC involved.”
Johnson said he still doesn’t have a place to live, but he just found a job.
“The church is very helpful,” he says. “They keep my spirits up. They keep me accountable. When you’re homeless, it’s very easy to slip off and become jaded.”
Church member Dawn Randall said the city sent them an email asking them to attending the Monday meeting. To their shock, they told them to stop feeding people.
“Very succinctly,” Randall said. “They claimed we are increasing homelessness.”
“I think many of them eat out of dumpsters and trash cans when they aren’t eating with us,” said Kay Gabbard of the United Methodist Church.
“We can’t pretend like (homelessness) doesn’t exist in our backyard. We can’t pretend that it only exists outside Malibu,” she added.
Malibu is a wealthy town and there aren’t a lot of homeless people – anywhere between 80 and 100, one report estimates. But each person is a person in need and the church has been active for years in helping them get back on their feet.
The meals are part of a program called “Standing on Stone” and it’s part of a community effort that includes counseling, placement and even a laundromat.
Amazingly, Malibu actually has a city-sponsored “Task Force on Homelessness” which provides donations to the community, including clothes, toiletries and other items.
Yet they won’t let this local church feed them. But the city of 13,000 – where homes cost an average $4 million each – doesn’t have its own homeless shelter.
Does anyone really think that a meal once per week is going to bring throngs of homeless to a ritzy coastal city with no real services? Or do they think that people who aren’t homeless are going to decide to become homeless because of the awesome perks of a meal under a canopy every Wednesday?
Malibu is a typical liberal, rich California town in liberal Los Angeles County. If bleeding heart city leaders aren’t willing to let a church feed the homeless once per week, claiming a meal out of a foil pan increases homeless, what’s their plan?
It seems that conservative Christian values are driving this desire to help these people. They just don’t want the competition and would rather have these people dependent on the State’s handouts.
What do you think?