LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Violence outside a church that is feeding the homeless has caused the congregation to close its door temporarily.
The Canvas Community has been feeding people on Mondays and Wednesdays for years, but not this week.
“There are typically 25 to 30 people waiting and the crowd just picks up as the day goes on,” said Rev. Gail Brooks, Lead Pastor of Canvas Community.
Typically at 5 o’clock on a Monday or Wednesday afternoon, 140 people would be filing into the Canvas Community, dishing up a warm meal and visiting.
“It’s a nice atmosphere and people like hanging out at Canvas and we want it to stay that way,” said Brooks,
Instead, today it’s empty.
Reverend Gail Brooks said recently there have been outbursts of violence, both verbal and physical, which is causing the church to close the kitchen for now.
“It creates an unsafe situation for people who are here to be served and those who have come to serve,” said Brooks.
Two fights two Wednesdays in a row, but that’s not all.
“Someone witnessed a person standing here throwing something into the church window so there was damage here to the door and to the window,” said Brooks.
Now the church is looking to create and change its safety measures.
“How many people are coming in and whether or not we have people moving in and out and whether that’s part of our problem,” said Brooks.
Brooks said it’s hard because they just want to help people but their main priority is keeping everyone safe.
“It’s disheartening to be attempting to do good and then people get upset about it. It’s really kind of depressing,” said Brooks.
Now the church is hoping to be back open next week with new policies.