About five years ago, Kenzie Gilbert, center, white shirt, and his wife, Shiela, were having a picnic when they were approached by a hungry child asking for food. The encounter touched their hearts and now they run a summer outreach ministry called Food for Kids

Kenzie and Sheila Gilbert were moved by more than the picturesque scenery a few years ago while on a picnic, when a group of children asked to share in their food.

“It touched our hearts,” said Mrs. Gilbert, “and we felt there was a greater need in the community and in the neighborhood to feed the children.”

This summer marks the fifth year that the couple has given out food, both physically and spiritually, in the 500 block of South 19th Street.

“From there, God just took off and blesses the kids with food to eat,” she said. “We prepare 150 lunches a day, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. until we run out.”

Adds Mr. Gilbert: “This is just Food For Kids, an outreach ministry. We have a pastor on hand, and he teaches them Bible school and then we have prayer before we hand out the sack lunches.”

The Gilberts consider their work to be chosen for them by their creator. “We are trying to do the will that he laid upon us, and that is to help the community,” Mr. Gilbert said.

As children and some parents line up to get their lunches, Mrs. Gilbert talks with each one. “We are asking them, ‘How do you feel? How is your day?’ We just want them to know we care, we love them and we want them to stick around.”

As giving as the Gilberts are of their time, their financial resources are not enough to carry their ministry. Mrs. Gilbert explained that donations are vital to the operation.

“If interested, please bring fruit cups, fruit roll-ups, fruit bars and water. We take one day at a time,” she said.

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Eric Keith can be reached at eric.keith@newspressnow.com.

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