The word hungry has many meanings. Years ago, for me it meant would I have enough food to prepare a healthy meal for my family, or would hunger win on the day? Despite having full time jobs, my spouse and I were unable to buy food by the end of the month. I still cry when I talk about those times. I remember how we would strategize to not go hungry — visiting with family and friends near dinner time in hopes of being asked to share a meal with them. After too many nights struggling to put a meal on the table, I finally got hungry enough to apply for government assistance. To my dismay, we were not approved. But in every dark cloud there is a silver lining, because that experience changed my life.
In 2008, I got hungry and said "YES" to the still small voice that said "Feed my people". I founded Minnie’s Food Pantry, named in honor of my mother, the late Dr. Minnie Hawthorne-Ewing. Opening a food pantry in one of Texas’ most affluent cities was viewed as odd because “there are no hungry people in Plano.” But I knew that hunger hides, and with the economy at the beginning of a serious downturn, Minnie’s Food Pantry was right where it needed to be.
Our approach is simple: feed people with dignity, and don’t give them any food you wouldn’t eat yourself. We literally roll out the red carpet as we provide healthy, balanced meals to the families we serve. To date, Minnie’s Food Pantry has provided over 9.8 million meals. When we meet families that are hungry, we see an opportunity to not just feed their bodies, but to show them that someone cares and they will make it through the hard times, just as I did.
It shocks me to know that that
1 out of every 5 kids
living in this country is considered food insecure. That means that more than 15 million children in our nation may be struggling to find their next meal. Will you join me in changing those numbers? Minnie's Food Pantry has moved into a new location and I knew our numbers would increase but I am startled at how much they have increased. This happens in a country where we throw billions of pounds of food away every year. And most of this is hidden from view, because the face of hunger is not what you expect. It is no longer the person on the side of the road holding a “Will Work for Food” sign. It is people that you and I love the most — your co-worker who makes as much money as you do but had an expensive medical setback; grandparents and single mothers; and even more sadly, our veterans who fought so hard for our freedoms. Last month because of your support Minnie's Food Pantry provided meals to over 4,419 people and 65 of those families were from our new Houston location! We have over 1500 families signed up requesting a thanksgiving meal alone with 160 veterans also in need of a thanksgiving meal and 250 senior citizens and that list is growing daily..
We are thankful to be in our new home. Pictured above are the VariDesk employees who donated their time and over $40,000 worth of office and training room furniture to our new facility and behind them is Ms.Minnie smiling as always. We are grateful to Cawley Partners who heard that our previous landlord was not renewing our lease so they purchased our new building and have given us 3 years to pay back the $2.3 million dollar check they wrote acquire it. We also have a remodel loan of $1.3 million dollars that has to be paid off as well. The next three years will be challenging for us because we must provide even more services to our families while we are raising money to pay off this new building. However, what I know for sure is that over the years over 19,000 people have volunteered at Minnie's Food Pantry and this community has embraced our mission and together our mission of feeding the hungry and burning the note on this building will be accomplished,
We are also thankful because as we approach the season of giving, we know the hearts of the people in our community opens wide. The above photo represents one of the many kids who volunteered at Minnie's Food Pantry last week and they took time to color all of the Thanksgiving place mats that every family will have in the thanksgiving box that we will be distributing. Your donation of $50 will adopt a family and we will write your name or in memory of someones name on the back of the Thanksgiving mat so that they know about your kind deed. We will also send you a thank you note to read to your family on behalf of our charity and the families that we serve.
It’s not enough to just “see” a hungry person, we must take action and do something about it. Today, I am hungry for change. For over 12 years we have shined a light on the people that need a meal. We have made it clear that hunger exists in every community. And, we are hungry to motivate others to take a stand and make a difference. Will you join this movement?
The world is ours to change. What would it take for you to adopt one of those families? We need groups and corporations to host food drives and to sponsor our Feeding 10,000 annual Thanksgiving event. I look forward to hearing from you soon, together we can and we will reduce hunger and create a hunger free community...
Cheryl “Action” Jackson