Every Wednesday at 5PM and Mondays at 8:30AM, Food Not Bombs sets up outside City Hall (400 South Orange Ave. Orlando FL), to feed the hungry. When I arrived people were going through clothes needed for warmth. The as of yet unfinished, tax payer funded, Multi-Million dollar Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts loomed behind them, the steel beams glowing orange in the setting sunlight. Two steel arches from a sculpture arched overhead. Someone asked me what time the food arrived. I must have looked like I was supervising since I was working on the sketch. I let him know that this was the first time I was at this particular feeding site.
Food Not Bombs used to set up in Lake Eola Park but some antiquated city ordinance states that you can not feed more than 25 people in a city park. Apparently people didn't feel comfortable having homeless and hungry people gathering in the park. Food Not Bombs volunteers were arrested for feeding too many hungry people. Lawyers for the Food Not Bombs defendants argued that feeding the hungry was in their rights since it promoted their free speech and political views. Court cases were won and lost in an endless cycle of litigation. Finally they were told they could set up at City Hall.
The feeding station was set up to my left as I sketched. The people who came were offered food quickly and efficiently. People sat on the benches and steps around me but no one sat on my bench. It was going to be a cold night but at least folks had warm healthy vegan food without any preaching.