GOOD DEED SPOTLIGHT: Jerri Garcia Couldn’t Get Local Organizations to Feed the Homeless So She Started Her Own Charity

Jerri Garcia Shares Food & a  & a Hug with Homeless Vet, Ed

Jerri Garcia Shares Food & a & a Hug with Homeless Vet, Ed

GOOD DEED SPOTLIGHT shines a light on the people who are making a difference in the world with their loving intentions and committed actions — despite any and all obstacles. If you know someone who has a story that needs to be heard, please let us know via our contact form. Thanks!

When Jerri Garcia, saw that there were homeless people going hungry in her Tampa, Florida neighborhood, she approached her church to see if she could start some sort of program to feed them. She thought her church would be interested in implementing her idea since they had long been leaving out collection boxes for the charity organization “Feeding America.” Surely, they would want church members to feed the part of “America” that was residing within their own community.

The church administrators listened to Garcia’s idea and then told her to go and research it to see what it would entail. Garcia jumped at the opportunity. She looked up different programs and approaches and got very excited about offering a local program to feed the homeless. When she thought she had a good understanding of how it could be done, she brought her suggestions back to her church — and promptly got turned down.

Their reason? Feeding the local homeless would be too big of a legal liability.

While Garcia understood that her church had to abide by legalities, and she held no ill will about their decision, she did find the whole red-tape thing perplexing.

“How hard can it be to make a sandwich and give it to someone?” she says.

Garcia looked for another sponsor for her idea. She visited other churches and organizations in her Tampa, Florida area and found nobody willing to house and support her plan.

Starlight "Elves": (front to back) Ella, Ramona Glasgow, Fran McCown, Nellene Metcalf

Starlight “Elves”: (front to back) Ella, Ramona Glasgow, Fran McCown, Nellene Metcalf

But that didn’t stop her. She knew it could be done, and more importantly, it needed to be done, so she turned to her good friends Tracy Price and Ramona Glasgow, and together the three women committed to just do it. They set a date, and got busy.

“It’s the BEST decision I ever made!” says Garcia.

Their first meal share took place in October of 2013. The three women created 25 bag lunches that they took out to the homeless of their community. Each lunch consisted of two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a banana, two cookies, bottled water, and a printed inspirational message.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving 2013, they wanted to do something special, so they made a full Thanksgiving dinner… with all the trimmings.

Since then, Garcia has made her organization official. Run by herself and a handful of friends (all aged 55-72) her Starlight Angels Ministries has now delivered hundreds of meals, and given countless hugs to local homeless folks. Many of the “regulars” actually look forward to their weekly meals and the Starlight Angels’ caring interaction.

Garcia does not take her commitment lightly either. When the Starlight Angels meal-making “hub” — the house that she and Tracy Price share — was burned down, they didn’t miss a beat. They just moved to a temporary location and kept on cranking out the meals and the love.

Currently, they serve 50-60 full home cooked meals every Sunday, and quite recently, they began sharing 50-80 home made breakfast meals once a month with another local neighborhood organization called “The Well.”

The Starlight Angels also pass out 40 hygiene kits (with socks, deodorant, shampoo, and other sundries) every other week, and they collect backpacks, blankets and such to hand out seasonally as needed.

Jerri Garcia &  Her Homeless Friend, Little Mama

Jerri Garcia & Her Homeless Friend, Little Mama

Garcia doesn’t make any fuss at all about her beautiful work. Humble and loving, she believes she and the other Starlight Angels receive much more from the people they are serving than they could ever hope to give.

She hopes that Starlight continues to expand so she can feed and love more people who need it. If you’d like to donate to Starlight, you can do so here on their website.

Your money will go into their current feeding operations, but it may also help fund the things Garcia is envisioning for future, like a mobile food truck, and eventually, a “brick and mortar” community center with activities, free laundry facilities, free showers, various self-help groups, a community garden and more.

Jerri Garcia is living proof that each and everyone of us can make a difference if we simply commit to the changes we know are possible. She says she hopes you will let “your own personal ‘star light’ shine and maybe even begin your own ministry in your own backyard.

Tags: , , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.

Send this to a friend