Local News

City Claims Raleigh Woman's Ministry Violates Zoning Ordinance

Posted March 17, 2004

— For years, a Raleigh woman has been feeding homeless people at her home on South Swain Street in Raleigh, but she may have to stop because officials claim she is violating a city ordinance.

Even when times are tight and money iss scarce, Mary Judd always seems to have enough food to go around. She has been feeding the homeless from her front porch almost every day for eight years.

"I had to obey God to come out and do his work. That's why I'm out here today," she said.

"Miss Mary looks out for everybody. She's a very sweet lady," said Annie McCullers, Judd's friend.

Judd makes no money from her ministry. It runs only on donations, but it is in danger of not running at all. The city has told Judd she is in violation of a zoning ordinance and must shut down by the end of April or face $100-a-day fine.

The city zoning enforcement administrator said the issue is whether Judd is operating a business. He initially said it is a business, but he is sympathetic and is now undecided about whether to make Judd close or continue.

"They're very much aware of what Mary's doing down here," said Earl Fincher, Judd's friend. "I think the outcome will be positive."

Both Judd and the city agree the solution is for the ministry to move to an old storefront or abandoned building, but right now, the donations are so tight that she cannot afford to. Unless the city reverses its initial ruling, she has until April 23 to either move or close down.

Anyone wishing to help can send donations to:

God's Helpers of Raleigh P.O. Box 28182 Raleigh, N.C. 27611

Please make check payable to: God's Helpers of Raleigh

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