Millions of people across the country (about 1 in 6) do not have enough money for a meal. But twice a month for the last six years, Rick Wood, a pastor at The Lord’s House of Prayer in Oneonta, Alabama, has made sure the stomachs in his own community did not go hungry by handing out free hot dogs and bottled water to those in need.
That is, until he was literally stopped by the food police.
As ThinkProgress reports, last month local police stopped Wood due to the city’s food truck law, which meant the pastor had to acquire a pricey permit (that can cost up to $500) in order to continue giving out food. The exact wording of the city ordinance states (per AL.com): “No person or business entity, including religious or charitable organization, shall operate a mobile food vehicle and/or pushcart upon the public rights-of-way within the city without a permit.” Reports say that the law was enacted after local restaurants complained that food trucks were affecting business.
Wood told ABC 33/40 he wasn’t at all happy with the government’s decision. “I’m just so totally shocked that the city is turning their back on the homeless like this,” he said. “It’s like they want to chase them out of the city. And the homeless can’t help the position they’re in. They need help.”
As ThinkProgress reports, Birmingham’s homeless numbers have gone down in recent years but there are still 1,469 people in the area who do not have a roof over their heads. Wood, who has the Bible verse “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink” etched onto the side of his truck, is not giving up his mission to help feed the hungry. According to a online fundraiser, Wood has already obtained the permit to continue in his good works.