Lakeland ministry asked to stop meeting at park, feeding homeless

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA)- If you show up to downtown Munn Park on a Sunday afternoon, chances are you’ll be offered a free meal.

The Mad Hatter group gathers there every Sunday, serving up free food and ministry.

“We’ve been here for probably close to four years,” member Michelle Maynard said.

That’s now in jeopardy.

“We’ve never had an issue, we’ve always cleaned up after ourselves. There was mention of trash cans being filled, so we started taking our own trash bags and taking our trash with us,” Maynard told News Channel 8.

The city says they received complaints about crowds of homeless people and trash.

“We had residents and businesses downtown complain, and that’s when we started to look into it,” Cook said.

“We’re not standing at the table asking, ‘hey, are you homeless? If you are, you cannot eat here.’ This is families coming together on Sunday’s to worship,” Maynard said.

The city sent a letter asking the group to get a permit or stop holding their services.

“We’re looking at close to $500 a week just to have a meal with our friends and family.”  Maynard said the group simply can’t afford that.

Despite that, they continue to meet downtown and hope it doesn’t end like a Tampa group, recently arrested for feeding the homeless.

“We’re putting it in God’s hands,” Maynard said.

Get our hottest stories
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for News Channel 8’s Noon Newsletter to get
updates on the day’s top stories provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s