16 MILLION! Servants With a Heart packed its sixteen millionth meal on December 17th at McKee Road Elementary. This number was nowhere in Suzanne’s and my plans when we started the organization in 2011. We were simply looking for a place to serve together to try to learn to work together and make a difference for those less fortunate. After a couple of roles working through larger organizations, we had decided to start our own thing as we tend to be pretty entrepreneurial. As anyone who knows the two of us would agree, I thought we would work well together because I can talk about things, and she can actually get them done. We had worked with another food packing organization that sent the supplies, equipment and teams in from out of town. We believed this could be done locally better and cheaper, impacting that many more people. One of the important aspects for us is that nobody is paid through the proceeds of this charity. Everything that is raised goes to the food or its logistics.
Two important organizations helped us get started. First, there was Kids Against Hunger, a food packing organization that worked with independent nonprofits (501c3’s) around the country to pack food, very similar to a franchise concept. Second, Samaritan’s International, which is a nonprofit started by the Brown family that owns a furniture store called Furniture Outlet World in Waxhaw NC. That business supports a compound in Nicaragua where they feed up to 100,000 hungry people weekly. If you are buying furniture, please go there (the lobby is full of pictures from Nicaragua)! The Browns support all of our logistical needs with their trucks, forklifts, and warehouse space.
We started by bringing/dragging/bribing our kids and their friends to help us run packing events, creating many great memories. Eventually people with varied skills and experience started asking to help us. We now have a group of twenty-five volunteer leaders, many of whom can run events without us. Recently, another organization has assigned one of their staff to help us full-time.
In 2013, we rebranded as Servants With a Heart, a term that is very important to Suzanne and me. One of the businesses I am involved with fixes homes and other properties after insurance-related disasters. Jenkins Restorations’ mission statement is Restoring Property and Lives with a Servant’s Heart. I like to say a person with a servant’s heart has the empathy to see someone suffering and the compassion to do something about it.
We are excited for 2019 to serve along schools, churches and other community organizations to impact people suffering from hunger. We will also do more Servants With a Heart Impact Days where we open our packing lines to the public.
This journey has been amazing for Suzanne and me so far. As Christians running a non-religious nonprofit, we know God has orchestrated the success of Servants With a Heart and will continue to lead us!
—Jeffrey Yoh, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director