The anti-poverty group Food Not Bombs Thursday vowed to continue feeding the hungry in Orlando's signature park in spite of the arrest of three of its members Wednesday.
"I don't know why they're so threatened by people ladling out food," said Ben Markeson, 49, a spokesman for the group.
McHenry, Markeson and the other person arrested, Jessica Cross, 24, received trespass warnings from police and can't return to the park for a year, Markeson said. He and Cross were released from the Orange County Jail early Thursday on $250 bail each.
McHenry said he would represent himself and fight the charge of violating a city ordinance regulating large group feedings. He lives in Taos, N.M., but is staying with friends near Winter Park, Markeson said. McHenry is a co-founder of the international Food Not Bombs movement, which started in 1980 inCambridge, Mass.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon outside the jail, Markeson said the group feeds the homeless in public locations "to protest poverty, war and other social inequalities." Orlando Food Not Bombs intends to be at Lake Eola Monday morning to dish out a weekly breakfast, he said, though he and Cross will work behind the scenes as cooks and not go to the park.
Cross, a professional chef and baker, got involved in the anti-hunger movement while a student at the University of Central Florida.
"It's inhumane to tell people they should not give food to the hungry," she said.
Orlando Food Not Bombs has been providing dinner every Wednesday for homeless people for the past five years and breakfast every Monday for about three years, Markeson said. City regulations allow groups who feed more than 25 people at a time no more than two permits each year for parks within a 2-mile radius of Orlando City Hall.
A U.S. District Court of Appeals in April ruled that the city had the right to regulate the feedings, paving the way for police to start making arrests again after a hiatus. The penalty for violating the ordinance is 60 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.
Orlando Food Not Bombs received permits to feed the homeless on May 18 and May 23. On May 25, the group also fed a large group of people in violation of the ordinance, police said.