Man organizes ‘sack lunch giveaway’ to feed the homeless in Grand Rapids

Posted at 3:30 PM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 22:34:08-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- What started as a good deed inside a fast food restaurant last month, ended with a "calling" for Darrin Mayweather to feed hundreds of homeless people in downtown Grand Rapids.

"There was a lady who was obviously a little less fortunate and she had $1.75 and we were in Burger King," Mayweather explained. "You could tell that she hadn't eaten in awhile. No one stepped in to buy her food, so I cut the line. I bought her food."

What happened next surprised Mayweather.

"She just put her hands on my shoulder and just prayed for me... in Burger King.  In front of everybody, " he recalled.

Days later, Mayweather was still thinking about that encounter.

"That moment was kind of my calling to do something... I came home, I woke up one morning, told my wife I'm feeding the homeless and she said 'let's do it', and the rest was history."

Mayweather picked a date - September 16th - and started organizing friends and family to help with a sack lunch giveaway. He planned to feed 300 homeless people that day in Heartside Park.

"I'm a chef by trade, so it's easy for me to feed people," he explained. "I just felt like that's what I'm supposed to be doing at that moment... I planned it pretty much in three weeks."

After collecting donations, the group assembled the meals at LifeQuest Ministries the day before the event.

"People were just coming left and right with stuff, it was awesome," said Mayweather. "It started with sack lunches, it evolved to sack lunches and hygiene products... toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, so they could brush their teeth."

The morning of September 16th, the group donned white t-shirts at Mayweather's request so they would stand out, and began passing out meals in and around Heartside Park.

"We just started getting flooded... we went through 300 lunches in less than an hour," said Mayweather. "It was really emotional. People were really grateful."

Debora Howard received one of the meals, and said, "It's a blessing, because they don't have to do it. They take time out to come down here to help the's just, they're giving from the heart."

The father of two is now planning a blanket and sock giveaway on Thanksgiving.

"I feel like the homeless, the less fortunate, is kind of a lost sector in the community," Mayweather told FOX 17 News. "Everyone's human, so I wanted to let them know that there is someone who cares."

As our Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Mayweather is receiving a $300 prize.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Nikeidra DeBarge, our August Pay it Forward Person of the Month.