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"How It All Began" by Shawnee Hansen

It was Thanksgiving of 1986. My freezer was stuffed with three turkeys my family had received from various businesses. I was delighted to hear a minister announce on TV that he was in desperate need of food for a Thanksgiving meal he was trying to prepare for the homeless. What a great way to get rid of those turkeys. I called him and was stunned when he asked me if I could cook them before I delivered them. This was more than I bargained for! But since we were going to be home for the holiday, I agreed. When I dropped off the food I told him I would be back a few days later for my roasting pans. Several days after Thanksgiving, I ventured back to south Richmond. After getting lost, I pulled over to check out my map. There on the sidewalk were two men and a young boy. The men were trying to fish something out of a large trash container for the boy. He seemed quite excited, so I figured maybe it was a basketball, a toy or a baseball bat. To my amazement, it was a turkey carcass. I was horrified to watch him sit on the grass and start clawing at it and eating whatever scraps he could pull off. The Lord really spoke to my heart that day. I made many phone calls to find out what kind of programs or services were available for those in need on the southside. There were none at that time. And it was then that Richmond Friends of the Homeless was born. That dumpster turkey carcass was the inspiration that led to our feeding over Three Million meals to underprivileged persons to date.


History of Mammy Weitzel's Kitchen

Anna Zinn, lovingly referred to as "Mammy Weitzel," is the namesake of our lunch program. Born in the Pennsylvana Dutch area of Adams County in 1884, she married Earl Weitzel and the couple had nine children. Although the family's life was a modest one, Mammy always shared the little they had with others. Living near the train station in Sinking Spring brought many a knock on the door by a hungry stranger. Mammy never turned anyone away.

Her life is an inspiration to all of us as well as the words of Matthew 25:35, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Her legacy continues today.

  © 1986 - 2011 RICHMOND FRIENDS OF THE HOMELESS .ORG
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