Group holds free barbecue for homeless in Ocean Beach despite fears of arrest

SAN DIEGO - The head of a nonprofit group spent his day worried his July 4 barbecue in Ocean Beach would land him in jail.

At Saratoga Park, steps from the beach, the sausages are on the grill and Glyn Franks' nerves are fried.

"Absolutely anxious and carrying my bail money," said Franks.

A looming fear of arrest hung over the most typical of scenes here -- an Independence Day barbecue.

For nearly two decades, Franks and his nonprofit group, Second Chances Bread of Life, have been feeding the homeless on holidays, including the Fourth of July.

At a meeting of local merchants and police on Wednesday, Franks said he was approached by a group of police officers.

"I was told they were going to shut it down; there would be no more feedings at the beach," said Franks.

Franks said because of merchant worries of bringing more homeless into the area, police told him his barbecue was illegal and he needed a permit.

In response, Franks said because he doesn't serve more than 75 people, he didn't need a permit.

Franks said he offered to buy a permit anyways, but was told there weren't any available for the holiday.

He told his story the OB Rag, and on Friday morning, Franks served his meals, as he does every Fourth of July.      

"I'll tell you why I'm doing this. I'm called to by my Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 25 tells us to feed the hungry," said Franks.

Forty-nine minutes after the barbecue began, police showed up. After talking to a few of the homeless, the officers walked away.

Franks said he'll be back and cooking next year.

"Americans have a right to come out, particularly on Independence Day, and a have a barbecue. You can't keep people from cooking food and handing it out for free," said Franks.

10News reached out to police to ask them why they didn't attempt to shut the barbecue down, but they did not call back.

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