Broward News

CNN Hero Aaron Jackson Crowd-Funding a Food Truck for the Homeless Outside City Hall

Aaron Jackson, a CNN Hero and president of the nonprofit Planting Peace, is starting a crowd-funding campaign to open a food truck outside City Hall -- essentially giving a delicious middle finger to Fort Lauderdale's controversial homeless food-sharing regulations.

This isn't just another food truck to serve tacos or gelato, and this isn't Jackson's first time taking his cause right across the street from his opposition's either. In 2013, Jackson bought a home across from the Westboro Baptist Church, arguably the nation's loudest anti-LGBT rights group, and painted it the colors of a pride flag as an act of solidarity with pro-LGBT rights groups.

This time, Jackson's cause is feeding the hungry until City Commissioners repeal new ordinances that regulate and basically prohibit outdoor food sharing. Jackson along with Love Thy Neighbor founder Arnold Abbott and several other activists from the South Florida chapter of the national group Food Not Bombs have been cited for violating the new ordinance.

The executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, Jerry Jones, and the director of Community Organizing, Michael Stoops, called the new regulations a "disgraceful attempt to push homeless people out of sight."

The food truck idea is also an escalation following Jackson's two feedings outside City Hall last week. Those feedings involved ten Fort Lauderdale Police officers citing Jackson with a notice to appear in court (with the date "to be set") after Jackson handed out 30 boxes of Little Caesar's pizza to the homeless in areas surrounding the city center on November 10 and 11.

"I don't think the situation is going to get any better, because no matter what, people are going to remain hungry," Jackson told New Times after Abbott's food-sharing demonstration with the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach on November 12. "As long as people are hungry, we're going to continue to feed them."

So far, Jackson has raised $5,000 privately with a goal of $25,000. Jackson says he would prepare and serve vegetarian food from the truck. The Little Caesar's cheese pizzas he handed out were also in line with his own vegetarian lifestyle.

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