How Far Would You Drive to Feed Hungry Children?
How far would you drive to feed hungry children? Would you drive 114 miles, from Ft. Worth to Athens, everyday? That is what Willa Johnson did all summer, from June 4th through August 9th. Feeding Kids Right Inc. and Soul Kitchen partnered to feed children out of school for the summer. Willa Johnson, who lives in Fort Worth, is part of the organization Feeding Kids Right. Soul Kitchen, her daughter’s catering business, is in Athens. Willa made the drive to hand deliver hot meals to kids who otherwise may have had nothing but a sandwich to eat. Soul Kitchen would close down during the week, and they would begin cooking very early in the morning.
Willa has been serving kids for 18 years and even had a state job where she fed hungry school children. She was surprised to learn that with all the poverty in Athens, they have no food program. Willa felt the urge to serve the kids of Athens, and made a commitment to Feeding the Kids Right. The day we were there, the kid-friendly hot meal she served was cheese dogs. Willa says, “I cook with a lot of sugar, butter, and love.” Willa Johnson, WFFA.com.
Willa uses her own vehicle, but it would be more effective if she had a food truck. She delivered close to 240 meals the day we were there. She tried to raise money for a food truck through donations and fundraising, but she came up short this year. It has not slowed her down though.
A Volunteer With Passion
Willa has volunteers that come and go, but she has one that has become almost like family.
Kris Walker is a dedicated volunteer. She has been with Willa since the beginning of the summer and is planning on bringing a program like this to her own county. She lives between Athens and Canton TX, and believes a program like this is needed in Van Zandt County. “Helping kids, how can that be anything but the right thing to do?” Kris said. “Feeding kids, that’s right up my alley. When you pull up to that house and honk that horn and 14 happy children bounce outside to receive their lunch. You see the need to bring a good hot lunch, a smile and a hug. Giving back has helped me feel more complete. I feel like we have so much, and have been so blessed. I have never been hungry, or not had a safe home.” Kris shared that a food truck would be a more efficient way to deliver food to the children. She hopes that Willa will get her wish.
Willa and Kris have warmed the hearts of these children, and they will never forget that someone was there. These children light up, and are very happy to see Willa. Interestingly, not one child asked what they were having to eat. There is no greater love than the love we give to our neighbors in need. This is news for the soul of Northeast Texas.
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