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By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – The city of El Cajon has dropped charges against a dozen people who allegedly violated the city’s temporary ban on feeding homeless people in public places.

Activists, including a 14-year-old minor, defied the ban in January, sharing food with homeless people at Wells Park. They were issued misdemeanor citations and ordered to appear in court.

The city’s ban was lifted January 23rd under a sunset clause when the county ended its emergency public health declaration over a hepatitis A outbreak after the number of new cases diminished sharply.  

Mayor Wells said, “Now that the emergency has been lifted, there is no compelling reason to press charges,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The Mayor added that the ban was “always about hepatitis” and previously noted that food was available during the ban at locations other than public property.

The city has indicated it is sending dismissal notices to all who received citations.

Food Not Bombs, a group that participated in the feedings during the ban, has indicated that it will continue to feed homeless people at Wells Park on Saturdays at 5 p.m., now that the ban is lifted.

On its Facebook page, the group asks for donations of funds, certain food items and volunteers, with the slogan, “Food is a right! Join us.”