For Immediate Release
Volunteers Could Be Arrested Today for Sharing Free Meals with the Hungry
Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko and Mayor Buddy Dyer are alone in arresting Food Not Bombs volunteers.
ORLANDO, FL - Orlando Food Not Bombs presented a letter to Buddy Dyer on Monday requesting a meeting but has not yet heard from the mayor. The City of Orlando has made a total of 15 arrested this June tarnishing the international reputation of Orlando by Mayor Dyers lack of cooperation and compassion. The city failed to send anyone to the mediation ordered by the federal district judge and has ignored all other requests to talk with Food Not Bombs.
Food Not Bombs has been sharing vegan meals with the hungry for over 30 years without media attention. The Orlando chapter has been sharing meals every week since the January of 2005, moving to the current location at Lake Eola Park in May of 2005 when the city asked the group to move from the Rosalind Avenue side of the park. The group was happy to share meals and seek to reach as many people as possible with the message that food is a right and no one should be forced to stand in line to eat at a soup kitchen doing so without media attention. Even now Orlando Food Not Bombs continues to provide for many of the city's hungry while the Mayor attempts to discourage our efforts, locking accuse to water and threatening our sources of organic food. Food Not Bombs is providing meals and groceries in over 1,000 cities each week meeting the needs of thousands of hungry people. So far the only other city trying to silence Food Not Bombs is Minsk, Belarus where dictator Alexander Lukashenko has ordered his police to arrest our volunteers. Who are the real "Food Terrorists?" Dictators and mayors that are arresting people for helping the poor or the good hearted volunteers using their own time and resources to end hunger.
Mayor Buddy Dyer is telling the public that there isn't a problem with hunger in Orlando and that it is unnecessary to seek public support for changes in federal and local policies. Second Harvest in Orlando reported that over 55,000 people required food through their central Florida program. They also reported that 20.7% of the pantries, 10.1% of the kitchens and 33.0% of the shelters responded that they turned away clients during the past year. Their website also shows that 49% of the Central Florida Second Harvest clients had to choose between paying for food and paying for their rent or mortgage. The people eating with Food Not Bombs eat with us because they need food. Many must choose between food or housing. Mayor Buddy Dyer and other officials must come to terms with the fact that we are in a crisis and hiding the problem of hunger is not a solution.
This problem is not limited to Orlando. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that over 15 percent of Americans were going with out food each month in 2009. That number has increased. Federal authorities also report that 387,849 new recipients were added to the food stamps program in March 2011. Over 44 million Americans rely on food stamps to feed their families and the number continues to grow. Efforts to organize to end hunger should be supported not arrested. These staggering and painful statistics reflect the failure of priorities. No one should hungry in the world's wealthiest country. Hiding poverty is not the solution.
Orlando Food Not Bombs delivers letter to Mayor Buddy Dyer requesting meeting.
The Minsk police declared the distribution of food in the poor 'unsanctioned action'