RALEIGH, N.C. — Eight years ago, Mary Judd stepped out on her front porch in Raleigh and began feeding the homeless.
She has helped thousands of people. Now, the city says she must move or shut down.
"I've always tried to help somebody," Judd said.
"She steps out on this porch every morning fully believing that God will provide whatever it is she needs to feed these people," her friend Earl Fincher said. "It's been unbelievable the way God has, in fact, provided."
Judd makes no money from the ministry, which operates only on donations. Soon, the ministry may not operate at all.
Raleigh's zoning enforcement administrator recently sent Judd a letter stating she must shut down because she is operating a charitable institution from a residence and her property on South Swain Street is not properly zoned for that.
The city's zoning enforcement administrator has not returned WRAL's calls. So WRAL went to Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, instead.
Meeker says he is not familiar with Judd's situation, but said, "This woman seems like she's doing a great thing for the community."
The mayor says he is sympathetic.
"Feeding people that need food is, you, know, generally encouraged in this city," He said.
The city has given Judd until June 23 to relocate and is helping her find a vacant building in a district that is properly zoned.
Judd says she searching for a building to move into, but has not found one her ministry can afford.
Judd prays for a miracle in the face of bureaucracy.
"It really hurts me to know that I can't come out and do God's work like he asked me to do," she said. "I believe deep down in my heart that God is going to make a way and I am going to do his work somewhere."
The city received a complaint, which led to the zoning inspection.