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The Kearney Center serves 1 millionth meal

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 18:20:30-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Four years, three meals a day, 21,000 meals a month and behind all of those numbers are people.

People experiencing homelessness have been fed by The Kearney Center in Tallahassee. On Thursday, The Kearney Center celebrated the millionth meal they've served since opening.

For those in our community facing food insecurity, a hot meal can truly be a life-saver.

"I've even had a gentleman stay here for a few weeks, and he came up to me before he left and said, 'Thank you for saving my life,'" said Bill Schack, the food services director at The Kearney Center. "So how do you go on from that? That's an incredible moment, and I always talk about that story because that is what we do everyday. Save people's lives."

The Kearney Center is an emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Thursday is a celebration, not only for the incredible one million meals served, but also for the many volunteers and donors like Brenda Christie.

"I like serving as the ticket taker and I get an opportunity to speak to everyone that comes through the line to be fed and by me just having conversations with the individuals and letting them see that you really care about them, I think they all enjoy that," said Brenda Christie, who volunteers with The Kearney Center.

As lunch was served, the countdown began, until the person with ticket number 50 got to the head of the line.

Oscar Gude was the millionth meal served. He says The Kearney Center has not only provided him food and shelter. When needed, it's also helped him get jobs. He even met his wife there.

"It means a lot to me because a lot of times I didn't have anything and coming here with the goodness of the people and the caring hearts ... it meant a lot to me," Gude explained.

One million meals served. It's not just about the milestone reached, but the commitment that represents for the future.

"We will be here. We will stand in the gap," said Monique Ellsworth, the CEO of CESE Inc. "We will work with our community to make sure we are providing such a necessary resource and a cornerstone for people living in our community."

The Kearney Center says they will continue to provide meal after meal hoping for the day that there aren't people in our community suffering from food insecurity.