Legal battle continues for group feeding the homeless

A group of people who want to feed the homeless around the Grand Strand is vowing to not give up, though they keep getting kicked out of one feeding location after another.

Members of the group say their ultimate goal is to overturn a Myrtle Beach city ordinance that prohibits mass feedings of the homeless in public parks.

They're in talks to get the ACLU to help in their legal battle, but regardless of who represents them, they say they'll keep fighting.

For nine months, the informal group fed the homeless each Saturday at Myrtle Beach's Chapin Park.

Then someone filed a complaint about the practice, Myrtle Beach police issued a ticket to one member, Richard Hopkins, and the group had to find a new location.

A non-profit health care facility and two churches offered to host the feedings, but each time it was only for one week.

"Actually last week for the first time we were unable to do this, but that won't stop us," said Richard Hopkins, who was given the ticket with a $262 fine.

They grow potatoes, broccoli and other items for the homeless in a community garden behind the Good Shepherd Anglican Church.

Next week, their feeding will take place at a private residence. Hopkins says he's curious to see how the city will handle that.

"We believe the city is going to do whatever they can to pressure anyone who allows us to do that," he said.

Bill Davis is a member of the group, who is experimenting with growing vegetables in a kiddie swimming pool, with the hope of putting many of those tiny gardens around the community.

Davis says homeless people aren't lazy or criminals. They just had bad luck.

"I promise you we're not trying to overthrow anything," Davis said. "All we're trying to do is to solve a problem and that is folks who need food and need a way out of their circumstance."

Davis says the group is trying to give a little hope to the homeless, not cater to them.

"Our purpose is to become in solidarity with the homeless because it could be me. It could be me tomorrow."

Hopkins' latest step was to request a jury trial to fight the ticket. The date for the trial has not been set.

Hopkins says he feels a moral obligation to the less fortunate; to not help them would be unacceptable.

"I know right, I know wrong. I'll do right, I'll fight wrong," he said.