Woman sues over ban on feeding homeless people in parks

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. ordinance / ˈɔr dn əns / (n.) – a rule or law made by a local government

    The city ordinance does not allow the sale of fireworks in this area.

  2. injunction / ɪnˈdʒʌŋk ʃən / (n.) – an order given by the court to stop someone from doing something

    The company is seeking an injunction against the publication of the book.

  3. criminalize / ˈkrɪm ə nlˌaɪz / (v.) – to make an activity illegal

    The government introduced new laws to criminalize computer hacking.

  4. charitable / ˈtʃær ɪ tə bəl / (adj.) – giving help to the poor or the sick

    Ron donates money to charitable organizations every year.

  5. the less fortunate / ðə lɛs ˈfɔr ʧə nət / (idiom) – people who are poor

    We should always share some food for the less fortunate.


Read the text below.

A woman who was arrested for feeding homeless people in northwest Arizona is suing over a local ordinance that regulates food-sharing events in public parks.

Norma Thornton, 78, became the first person arrested under Bullhead City’s ordinance in March for distributing prepared food from a van at Bullhead Community Park. Her lawyer said the lawsuit is part of a nationwide effort to let people feed those in need.

Criminal charges against Thornton were eventually dropped, but she’s seeking an injunction to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance that took effect in May 2021.

“Bullhead City has criminalized kindness,” Thornton’s attorney Suranjan San told Phoenix TV station KPHO. “The City Council passed an ordinance that makes it a crime punishable by four months imprisonment to share food in public parks for charitable purposes.”

Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady said the ordinance applies only to public parks. He said churches, clubs and private properties are free to serve food to the homeless without a permit.

Thornton owned a restaurant for many years before retiring in Arizona and said she wanted to use her cooking skills to help the less fortunate.

“I have always believed that when you have plenty, you should share,” Thornton said.

According to the Mohave Valley Daily News, Thornton said she has continued to feed people in need from private property not far from Community Park.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The ordinance regulates food-sharing events in public parks. In your opinion, is the ordinance and punishment reasonable? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Thornton has always believed that “when you have plenty, you should share.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Thornton wanted to use her cooking skills to help the less fortunate. What do you think are some of your skills that can be used to help the less fortunate? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, are the people in your country generally kind? What more do you think the government can do to encourage kindness to others? Discuss.