Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Churches 'Prayer and Produce' Stand in Lakeland, FL Being Threatened to Shut Down Due to Law

A produce stand that trades food for donations is causing some controversy in Polk County.

Jonathan Friedt, who is the associate pastor of Believers Fellowship Work of Faith Church in Lakeland, said he has been told by the city that the stand will have to be shut down because it is violating regulations.
"It has really opened the door for us to share the gospel with a lot of people," he said.
The church doesn't require that people donate money in exchange for food.  Sandra Sebastiano said she has been able to take advantage of the church's produce stand even when she doesn't have any money.
"There are many times when I don’t have anything at all that I can contribute, and so I’m able to come and get the things without any donation at times," she said.
The donations may have to stop, though, as the city wants to shut the stand down. City spokesman Kevin Cook said the stand violates zoning codes.
"The basic issue is the tent is larger than what is allowed per residential use," he said. "And the signage and the way the produce stand is operating is commercial use, in an area zoned for residential."
Friedt disagrees, saying the only money the stand brings in is from donations.


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