Article wrote:Something about the way the homeless people in Bienville Square asked for leftovers from the Gumbo Cook Off last May touched the heart of 13-year-old Marina McKinley.
That incident started her family on the path to feeding 100 hungry souls every Sunday afternoon in Bienville Square. They’ve done it for the past four months.
“I looked at them and thought that maybe they didn’t have the means to get a job; maybe they didn’t have money for a resume or clothes for an interview,” said Marina, an eighth-grade student at Saraland Middle School.
“I thought about how they felt, being hungry and without money for a meal,” she said.
On the way home, she asked her parents, Mike and Lori McKinley, whether there might be some way they could help.
“One Meal: Feeding the Homeless, One Meal at a Time,” was born. It is a nonprofit organization that ensures that those who are hungry can depend on one solid meal a week.
McKinley said the 1,600-plus meals the family, including daughter Makayla, a fourth-grader, has served so far have been provided mainly through donations of food, water, paper products and cash.
“The economy is bad right now; there aren’t always jobs out there,” he said.
He said he realizes some are homeless because they want to be.
“But we are not here to judge; we are here solely to serve one meal to someone who feels they need that meal,” he said. “This is what God wants me to do.”
McKinley said that the family’s plans for a Thanksgiving meal include turkey and dressing, sweet peas and potatoes.
“The Farmer’s Market,” he said, “is pretty generous with potatoes.” He also hopes to come up with cakes or brownies for dessert.
“The ladies at our church — Shiloh Baptist in Saraland — love to bake,” he said.
The number of hungry homeless who turn up at 4 p.m. on Sundays has grown recently to about 125.
So far, McKinley said, he’s been able to stretch the meal to accommodate the increase. In giving basic information about One Meal, McKinley said the organization is not government-funded and works solely from contributions.
All workers are volunteers and receive no compensation. As a result, donations go directly to feeding the poor. Sponsorship of one Sunday’s dinner for the whole group is $150.
WANT TO HELP?
Items the McKinleys can use for One Meal include, but are not limited to the following: bottled water, bread, lunch meat, peanut butter, chips, cheese, jelly, fruit, cookies, cakes, mayonnaise and mustard packets, plastic spoons, napkins and sandwich bags.
The organization’s Web site is http://1-meal.org.
From the caption on the image:
“This is what God wants me to do,” Mike says.
Christianity: you're doing it right.