Church meal program must move from city-owned lot in Olympia
OLYMPIA — A non-denominational church group has been told it can no longer feed the homeless twice a week at a city-owned parking lot in Olympia.
Ben Charles, founder of Crazy Faith Ministries, is concerned his organization will have no place to feed hundreds of people, as it has for the past two years at a lot southeast of State Avenue and Washington Street.
After complaints from nearby businesses, Charles received a letter from the Olympia Police Department, saying his group can no longer use the property. Crazy Faith Ministries has been feeding hundreds of people at the lot on Thursdays and Saturdays.
The complaints range from people blocking vehicle traffic and parking to garbage and debris being left behind.
In a released statement, Charles announced he and several others were planning to march Tuesday night to the Olympia City Council meeting to show support for the feeding program.
“Little Caesars’ Love Kitchen partnered with us to serve out 1,000 servings of pizza. Papa Johns has partnered with us once a month to help feed. Cabela’s has partnered with us to help with our big events by loaning us tables and chairs. Nisqually Tribe has provided food on numerous occasions to help feed,” Charles says in a written statement he released. “We have collected support letters from (Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe) native tribal council members, our team as well as young children that have helped serve.”
Charles estimates about a third of those who benefit from the meal programs are native Americans. He says it’s critical that it’s held outdoors, since some people wouldn’t come inside a church facility to eat.
Olympia city officials are continuing to work toward a resolution to the parking lot issue.