IMPACT
04/14/2011 01:17 pm ET Updated 5 days ago

'Food Not Bombs' Willingly Breaks Law To Cook For Orlando Homeless

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Orlando officials are permitted to restrict organizations from giving food to the homeless. But one group says they'll break the law and do it anyway.

The new ordinance says a group can apply for only two free permits a year for "events in the downtown area," according to WFTV.

But Food Not Bombs tells the local news stations it's a form of free speech and they'll continue their commitment to cooking vegan meals for the homeless every Wednesday.

"We're going to do what we feel is right. They need food. Everyone deserves to be fed," Gemma Thacher said.

The court said the decision didn't violate free speech rights because the city didn't completely ban food offerings or restrict expressive actions, the Associated Press reports. The city argued that the restrictions were needed to protect parks and resources.

"The city has a substantial interest in managing park property and spreading the burden of large group feedings throughout a greater area," the ruling said, "and those interests are plainly served by the ordinance."

Once the city starts enforcing the ordinance, members of Food Not Bombs could be fined $500 or spend two months in jail.