Church meal program must move from city-owned lot in Olympia

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Ben Charles, founder of Crazy Faith Ministries, is concerned his organization will have no place to feed the homeless, after the city of Olympia ordered him to stop running a feeding program on a city-owned parking lot.  Photo courtesy:  Crazy Faith Ministries

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.

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  • olyres

    Olympia has become a Mecca for the chronically homeless population – they bring their violence, vice and sloth with them. Time to stop feeding them like pigeons. I am tired of hard-working residents being stabbed, beaten and insulted – take your Crazy Faith somewhere else.

    • suetv

      I bet you are among the people who are in favor of killing shelter pets too.. instead of helping them find good, safe, happy homes. Believe it or not, there are actually people who care about the suffering of those who have fallen on hard times. I'm not defending criminals or criminal acts. But I'm wondering how you conclude that every homeless person is a violent criminal. Especially considering that a large number of the people who attend the feeding program once or twice a week are families with small children. It should also be considered that the Crazy Faith group has helped many of the homeless people get back on their feet, find work and housing, and they in turn help other less fortunate people and families. This is called making a difference for good in the world!_ Sadly, a huge majority of people in today's society would (and do) just walk away from anyone they judge to be inferior to themselves.. even if the person is starving or injured through no fault of their own. That is called heartlessness. But someday when they find themselves in need of help, they would be mighty glad for someone to care enough to reach out and help.

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