One of the women turned to a young boy and said, “Call your friends.” The boy nodded and sped off to carry the message.
Few minutes later, little children—from 2 upwards, trooped to queue in front of the table with the large pot. Significant about the rush of the kids was visible small bowls of different sizes with the kids.
Very soon the line was filled with voices of excited children—ready to receive each a decent meal, as it has been done every Saturday, since 2014, prepared and sponsored by J. L. Gibson administrator, Phillip Gibson, who said the project began at the height of Liberia’s Ebola scourge in 2014.
“The children roamed about the community searching for food and when I saw what was happening I decided to fill the vacuum,” he said, and since then every child resident on Gurley Street and nearby communities of Center and Randall streets have benefitted from the program.
After each child received a plate, he is directed to pick up a bag of mineral water. The next 30 minutes were busy as the kids struggle with each other on the line to get their share.
“I spend about USD150 per week,” admitted Gibson. In a country where most of those who can afford to do enough for the communities have political motives, Gibson insists his actions are different.
“I’m doing my share for the young generation and so if many Liberians who can afford are able to share with kids,” Gibson says, “we would be on the way to create a new awareness that all of us are responsible to help the next child.”
Though his support has come primarily from his pocket, friends who are also touched with the plight of kids in the community have helped with money and materials, of which he is grateful.
“I’m grateful to those who share the same dream I have to alleviate hunger that affects kids in our community,” Gibson says. The program has drawn attention of several media and the Daily Observer and Women Voices newspapers have been supportive.
Making the program successful has been the volunteer support of Ms. Vanessa Kennedy, Ms. Joanna Zeabo, Ms. Akma Aaron and Ms. Jamelia Loum.
Gibson says the program will go and he is searching for additional support to make it permanent with other educational benefits.
Several families interviewed for this article expressed appreciation for the Saturday free meals program.
For now the kids on Gurley, Center and Randall Streets are confident that their decent meals every Saturday are assured no matter what happens and they are thankful to God who touches the hearts of caring souls like Gibson.