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Dallas Man Wins Seven-Year Court Fight To Feed The Homeless

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - For 30 years, Don Hart fed the homeless in Dallas.

“I feel like it’s God’s appointment,” he said.

With his BIGHEART Ministries, he fulfilled his calling, helping clothe and counsel the crowds who came to him for a meal.

“It grew, grew, grew… until we were feeding thousands of people,” he said.

The memories are ones his daughter, Dana Hart-Ball, holds dear.

“Actually, this last Christmas was the first I remember not being there,” she said, wiping away tears.

In 2005, the city of Dallas passed an ordinance, requiring organizations feeding the homeless to get the city’s approval, provide bathrooms, and meet a list of public safety requirements.

Hart said he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to comply.

“It kept getting worse, until finally police were coming out,” said Hart.

One day, Hart-Ball remembers seeing a dozen police cars.  Officers, she said, began questioning the volunteers.

“They’re ready to take us to jail – for what?  Praying for people? Scrambling eggs?” said Hart-Ball.

Hart filed a lawsuit against the city, which stretched out for almost seven years.

Finally, Thursday morning, a judge ruled the city’s ordinance violated Texas law protecting Hart’s religious freedom.

“I’m totally blessed.  It’s been a great great great victory,” he said.

This Easter Sunday, he says, will mark the resurrection of his ministry.

He and his daughter plan to be back on the streets, serving the homeless.

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