As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” a time when giving becomes the priority and hearts turn toward the needy.
But in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a Scrooge of a law has led to protests and national attention, and the man in the middle is 90-year-old Arnold Abbott, lovingly referred to as “Santa Claus.”
The World War II veteran made headlines when police ticketed him not once, not twice — but four times for violating the city’s public feeding ordinance.
‘Sir, Drop that Plate’
“I felt something on my arm — it was a hand and the officer said, ‘Drop that plate’ as though I had a weapon in my hand. It was kind of funny,” Abbott recalled with a chuckle.
Video of Abbott defying the new law went viral and led to a national outcry. A judge has since placed a temporary suspension on the law until further mediation from both sides.
When CBN News spoke with Abbott, he was preparing to hit the streets again with a fresh batch of meals.
“We don’t serve the same food day after day. We serve different food. We want to make sure the food is delicious, nutritious, and pretty,” Abbott explained.
He has spent the last 23 years feeding and educating the city’s homeless.
“It’s a mission of love. Love is in our name. Love is what we do,” he said.
Through a nonprofit called Love Thy Neighbor, he trains the homeless for jobs in the food business.
For Abbott, it’s not only a heart of compassion that motivates him, it’s honoring the legacy of his late wife who also dedicated her life to the poor. Each week he heads to the beach to feed hundreds.
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SOURCE: CBN News
Amber Strong and David Brody