arrested for free food distribution in a park, the fate of a retiree sparks a wave of support on Twitter

She says she just did”his duty“. At 78, Norma Thornton was arrested by the police because she distributed food in a park in her city, the municipality of Bullhead in Arizona. She has been doing this for five years, five times a day. week, summer and winter. A cook by trade, she spent fifty years behind the stoves of restaurants and when she retired, she decided to continue cooking small dishes but to do it for those who need it, without judging , or ask for anything in return.

She therefore prepares her dishes in the afternoon, in her kitchen, for a good twenty plates, before going to the park, unfolding her table and welcoming those who come, “there are homeless people, but also people who have a home but can’t make ends meet, precarious workers, elderly people, single mothers”. At the end, she collects plates, cutlery, cups, and anything that needs to be thrown away. And then, the new mayor, who had just taken office, passed a decree a few months ago, a decree which makes “sharing food for charity in parks punishable by imprisonment.

The city attorney clarified:you can have a pizza party with friends, a picnic with 50 people, even strangers, even all day long as long as your motivation is not charity.” “I thought it was a joke”says Norma Thornton to the washington post. So she continued. And then in March, as she was starting her distribution, a policeman came and arrested her. He took her to the station, took her fingerprints, gave her her court summons where she went and refused to plead guilty, “I’m told that all this encourages marginality, but I don’t encourage marginality, I encourage people to hold on, to try to get by, to survive“.

The judge reminded him of the law, prohibiting him from any distribution under penalty of being sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. It was in April, but for two days the washington post painted his portrait, and social networks took it over. She receives thousands of messages of support, offers of help, donations, and yesterday a collective of lawyers filed a complaint at the federal level to have this municipal decree annulled. Complaint supported by Norma Thornton, because “feed others, it’s a universal gesture of generosity, it always has been, and it can’t be a crime“.

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