While the cost of war for the U.S. since 2001 is said to be over one trillion dollars, there are an estimated 671,859 homeless people in America. Forty-four percent of them do not live in shelters, and 20% are individuals under the age of 18. Without a roof over your head and not knowing when or where your next meal is coming from makes even thinking about how to get back on your feet again incredibly difficult. Thankfully, there are people out there who believe that food is a right, not a privilege.

Food Not Bombs is a grassroots movement dedicated to protesting war and poverty through demonstrations and feeding our homeless. For 30 years now, chapters in over a thousand cities meet weekly to offer free, vegetarian or vegan meals to the public. This past Friday, Food Not Bombs Ft Lauderdale honored the 30th anniversary with a Really, Really Free Market, banners, information, and food.

The group has been meeting in Stranahan Park every Friday at 5pm for the past four years and usually feeds around 40 people, many of them returning each week. The food is usually collected from various sources, oftentimes donated by local coffee shops and markets, and occasionally purchased. Using what would otherwise be thrown out in the community is the objective, therefore purchasing food is a last resort and rarely necessary. Cooking and cleaning up are collective efforts. According to FNB Ft Lauderdale member Hunter, “Food Not Bombs Ft Lauderdale usually gets so much local support and help that we don’t really need to assign turns of who cooks when.”

Because anyone, anywhere can start a FNB chapter, there are only a loose set of principles to guide each group, allowing members to devote their time and passion to what areas they deem most important. As foodnotbombs.net states,

“There are several reasons why this movement is still so strong after 30 years. Food Not Bombs has no leaders, directors and each chapter is autonomous, making decisions involving everyone in the group using the process of consensus. It is very empowering to collect, prepare and share free food, all on your own and to do it with little money, and few resources. Sharing food is powerful and magical. Additionally, when average people realize they have the power to make a difference, it can change their lives.”

In addition to food sharing, FNB Ft Lauderdale organizes and participates in other events and demonstrations for their cause almost weekly. Other efforts include workshops, infoshops, and protests addressing topics such as anti-authoritarianism, feminism, animal rights, and environmentalism.

FNB Ft Lauderdale rarely runs into problems with authorities, however, many city officials and people in the community oppose public feeding in fears that it might invite the homeless to linger around these public places. Show your support by lending a hand every once in a while whether it’s by dropping off some prepared food, contributing groceries, or donating some dishes or silverware you can spare.

Food Not Bombs Ft Lauderdale (click for Facebook link)
Shares Every Friday at 5pm
Stranahan Park
100 S Andrews Ave

(click photos for larger)

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