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Coalition to End the Meal Limits NOW scores victory

By staff |
August 28, 2011
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Gainesville, FL - The Coalition to End the Meal Limits NOW scored a major victory for homeless and poor people’s rights here, Aug. 25, as the city commission unanimously voted to change the controversial meal limit ordinance imposed since 2008. The ordinance, which limited how many hungry people Saint Francis House could feed to 130 a day, was changed to allow everyone meals during a three-hour period. The poor and hungry will no longer be turned away from Saint Francis House while plenty of food remains simply because 130 people ate before them.

Around 50 protesters gathered outside city hall to make their voices heard. They chanted, “Same story every time, being homeless is not a crime” and held large signs reading “Food is a right” and “Feed everyone.”

The Coalition to End the Meal Limits NOW is a grassroots organization made up of various student and labor activist groups. The meal limit ordinance was part of the reason why the National Coalition for the Homeless ranked Gainesville as the fifth meanest city for homeless people in the nation.

It wasn't until the Coalition to End the Meal Limits NOW was formed did the idea of repealing the ordinance take shape. Richard Blake from Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) called the repeal a “victory for the working poor” adding that “the city commission had no choice but to listen to the Coalition.”

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