In 1970 our founder, Annie Mae Tripp, was a domestic worker with seven children. She struggled to make ends meet, but she had a dream. She saw the hungry and homeless in the streets and she thought she could help. She began by serving meals of soup and bread to 12 homeless men from her garage. In 1971 she rented a building and began her ministry to the poor.
With three special ladies who were instrumental in founding the Center-- Betty Thompson, Jean Forbath, and Bernice Ranford, Annie Mae solicited churches, people and organizations for support. Annie Mae has passed away now, but today we serve over 10,000 meals a month, distribute food baskets, clothing and provide many other services. We strive to follow in her footsteps. Annie Mae's dream has come true.
The Devastating Fire of December 2009
To be awakened in the early morning hours and learn that the Center was on fire was not news anyone wanted to hear. Plans for the children's Christmas party were already under way. Stockings, toys, and food baskets were almost complete and then almost all were destroyed. What did we do? We literally set up business on the sidewalk. The city gave permission to block off the street so we could go ahead with the party and the outpouring of toys, food, and money was overwhelming!
Our building was virtually destroyed, so an office trailer was set-up on our site so we could operate until our facility could be rebuilt. Our kitchen was moved to an offsite location. We kept on feeding people with the help of amazing volunteers.
Then an amazing blessing came forward; Rebuilding Together and Sares Regis Building Group committed to rebuilding our Center! They donated their services and the building, while sub contractors worked for little or cost to complete our center.
The Grand Opening Celebration of our new facility began on March 24 with a party celebrating the birthday of our founder, Annie Mae Tripp! On Friday, March 25, we held an opening ceremony with a formal ribbon cutting. A public celebration and barbeque was held on Saturday, March 26, 2011! We are excited with our new facility and look forward to serving our community in many new ways!