Monday night dinners will soon be on the move.
Organizers of the event, staged weekly in Nanaimo Square to benefit the less fortunate, have seen the writing on the wall and decided to relocate to the Sunrise Pharmacy parking lot, effective June 3.
The final straw came Friday when the City of Penticton announced new measures to crack down on loitering and make public spaces like Nanaimo Square more easily borrowed for performances and the like.
A portion of Nanaimo Square has also been rented to a nearby bakery, making life even more uncomfortable for the dinner crowd.
“It’s not the best place for us to be anymore,” volunteer Christine Volk said Monday as she helped hand out free food to a few dozen people.
“Part of being a good neighbour is making sure we get along with everyone.”
Kristine Shepard, who’s been organizing the dinners for almost four years, said she has grown weary of attempts to shut her down, such as when some local politicians mused last fall about sending in health inspectors.
“There’s been a lot of hoopla every year and I’m tired of it,” said Shepard.
She’s also growing increasingly concerned for the safety of everyone involved, including diners, in the face of “a narrative in Penticton now that all homeless people are criminals.”
“I want to take care of anything before it happens,” said Shepard.