FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – An elderly man who is known locally for his humanitarian efforts has been victimized by thieves.
Now the good Samaritan says the financial setbacks are jeopardizing his mission to help the less fortunate.
At 94 years of age, Arnold Abbott is physically frail and struggles to get on his wheelchair.
But without fail, the founder of the nonprofit organization Love Thy Neighbor is at Fort Lauderdale Beach every Wednesday feeding the less fortunate.
“Homeless people are just like anybody else. They’re just people down on their luck,” said Abbott.
Chef Arnold, as he’s known, says he’s been arrested four times for violating a city of Fort Lauderdale ordinance that restricted charities from feeding the homeless.
Since then, Abbott and his 150 or so volunteers have carried on without issues but not without struggles.
Donations are low and Abbott says he discovered two of his assistants, whose names he did not want to disclose, were stealing from his non for profit organization.
“We had two people who stole from us. And when one of our contributors heard they said anybody who steals a paper clip, they’re gone,” said Abbott.
Abbot says summer’s always a tough time for donations.
“People go on vacation. They don’t take their checkbooks with them,” said Abbott. “It costs me $8,000-$10,000 a month to operate so that much money hurt us terribly.”
Abbott hopes donations pick back up in the fall but right now the organization he says feeds about 250 people per week is going through a tough time of its own.
“Right now we’re looking for some donors. We had some donors but we’ve had some incidents and that caused people to drop out,” said Abbott.
If you’d like to make a monetary or in-kind donation to the organization, visit http://lovethyneighbor.org/how-to-help/make-a-donation/