TALAHHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) - According to U.S. Census data, Florida 's population has grown 19.5% while the number of people in poverty has grown 43% in the past decade. In many instances those in poverty go hungry. Thanks to America's Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Grace Mission in Tallahassee, is helping to feed those in need.
Pastor Amanda Nickles of Grace Mission says, "We serve anybody that comes through our door. It could be somebody that's homeless, somebody that's just on hard times or it could be somebody that is working but just doesn't have enough to make ends meet."
Grace Mission has been serving the community hot meals for 20 years. They often deal with the forgotten in society: the homeless, poor, underemployed and the addicted.
According to Pastor Nickles, "All of this food that you see in this warehouse is from Second Harvest and USDA of coarse. The USDA allocation is actually brought through Second Harvest and then Second Harvest delivers it."
America's Second Harvest is the nation's largest food relief organization throughout the country. Donations from The Big Bend Chapter arrive once a month to help stock Grace Mission's warehouse. And on Fridays, a truck delivers donated food from local grocery stores.
Cathy Mitchell takes pride in serving nine hot meals every week, but she hasn't always been on the serving side of things, "I met my husband and he brought me for the first time walking through those doors as a homeless person myself and hungry for a Saturday morning bible study and free breakfast. I said honey we don't have any money, he said where I'm taking you we don't need any money."
Mitchell, a former teacher who fell on hard times through drugs and alcohol, she has worked hard to turn her life around. And for the past 13 years she's been cooking with love.
"That's my calling I guess you call it is to help other people because I myself was at that place at one time. I know how important it is in this community to feed the homeless. Some of these people I love them like brothers and sisters, because they come in here and say Cathy this taste just like my Grandmas. So it make me feel good when they compliment me on my delicious meals."
With 900 meals served weekly, Grace Mission is committed to helping the hungry and the less fortunate.
Pastor Nickles says, with out the help many wouldn't have anywhere to turn, "Many of them would go hungry. There aren't many places where they can go on a consistent basis that is truly committed to helping feed the hungry. As they say we are all just one pay check away from being on the streets our self."
Aside from the hot weekly meals, they offer a free mobile grocery every 3rd Saturday of every month.