For now, no more breakfasts in Manchester's Veterans Park
MANCHESTER — The leader of a church group that has sought to serve breakfast to the homeless in Veterans Memorial Park appears to have backed away from the request for now.
Bill Sullivan, who heads "Do you know Him? Ministries," told Chief of Parks Peter Capano and Mayor Ted Gatsas in a meeting Tuesday that he was willing to continue using the Salvation Army to serve the breakfast for the time being, according to the two officials.
Sullivan was not present at the committee meeting or at a later full board meeting. He told a Union Leader reporter Tuesday night that he had no comment.
Several dozen residents packed the City Hall chamber on Tuesday to protest the decision.
“We live in a large city — 300 people coming to a breakfast, that's just a drop in the bucket,” Mike Porter said during the public comment period of the aldermen's meeting. “There are some who stigmatize the homeless, that they’re mentally ill or alcoholics. But there’s another segment. They’re people who’ve lost their jobs, they’re living two to three families to an apartment. This issue of putting them outside the main park in the city, it’s like putting a blanket on the homeless.”
“One of the basic responsibilities of all of us is feeding families,”
said Alderman-At-Large Dan O'Neil. “I don’t understand if they could use Arms Park, why not this one?”
“We talked to the chamber. We had a meeting at the Welcome Center. In general there are concerns about wear and tear at the park. There are homeless who make their homes there, if you will. There are issues that there’s a lack of restrooms, especially after hours,” he said.
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