Watch: Tampa police arrest volunteers for feeding the homeless

"Compassion should never be criminalized."


Seven activists were arrested this week for feeding hungry, freezing homeless people in a Tampa city park.

Volunteers from Food Not Bombs were aware that their actions were technically illegal and chose to pass out food anyway.

The group often feeds the homeless in public spaces. Although they were made aware that their actions required a special permit, they proceeded with passing out food. The permit required to feed the homeless twice a week in a public setting can be expensive due to the heavy insurance policy the city requires.

Although police say that the activists were arrested on charges of serving food without a permit, Food Not Bombs says that they have served food in the exact same location to homeless individuals over 100 times – without ever having a permit. The group also says they will continue to feed the homeless, without a permit, even at the cost of being arrested.

In a public statement, the group said, “compassion should never be criminalized” and “[Food Not Bombs] has no plans to stop sharing food with the homeless and hungry and will continue to defy unjust laws that criminalize compassion and mutual aid. We intend to expose the city’s cruelty in the face of thousands in our community who are struggling with issues of food insecurity, mental and medical health issues, poverty, and homelessness.”

It is rumored that Tampa is cracking down on homelessness right now in order to clean up before Monday night’s college football national championship, which will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Foods Not Bombs plans to set up again early Tuesday morning to pass out more food.

Watch video of the arrests below:


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Ruth Milka started as an intern for NationofChange in 2015. Known for her thoughtful and thorough approach, Ruth is committed to shedding light on the intersection of environmental issues and their impact on human communities. Her reporting consistently highlights the urgency of environmental challenges while emphasizing the human stories at the heart of these issues. Ruth’s work is driven by a passion for truth and a dedication to informing the public about critical global matters concerning the environment and human rights.