What started as a pot of soup turned into much more. As one of our six Pay It Forward recipients, Starfish Ministry will use a $1,000 grant to change lives.
Once a week, it's all hands on deck. There are socks to fold, donated pastries to box and a meal to prepare for Omaha's homeless. It's a Sunday ritual for the Laney family and Starfish Ministry.
Robin Laney says, "They're so grateful, just that someone cares and knows their name. They're people, people that are left behind sometimes, and they don't deserve that."
Robin and her husband Dave started the effort. Fifteen months later, there are clothes and basic necessities to give out and 45 volunteers who help.
By the time everyone arrives at 14th and Douglas, a crowd is waiting. Robin Laney calls them friends.
It's family for Steve, one of the regulars.
He says, "It means a place to go on Sunday, have a nice hot meal and just see people come together."
Thanks to donations, Starfish Ministry has plenty of food to serve and items to give out, but not much money. They'll use the grant to address financial needs and remove some of the obstacles the people face.
Dave Laney says, "If a guy needs a bus ticket to go to work and he can't get to work because he can't get a bus ticket and he gives up and that happens constantly, then he's in the cycle, you know."
Starfish Ministry is working to change that one meal, one person, one Sunday at a time.
Robin says, "To be able to be involved in what God is doing down there just blows us away every single week."
Dave says, "I get an opportunity to talk about the love of Christ every Sunday for a couple of hours and to show them that in action and to me that speaks volumes. I could go on and on. My heart has been impacted forever."
Starfish Ministry has plans to grow the Pay It Forward grant money: an international food basket to raffle off, true English tea parties held at the homes of those interested and possibly a concert once the weather warms up.
For more information on how you can help, visit the Starfish Ministry Web site.