I’ve heard the term Saint before, but I’ve never used it. I’ve heard of saints, but never seen one in real life. Have you? I mean sure, I’ve heard of Mother Theresa, or Ghandi, I even watched the Val Kilmer film which is where I learned that a saint has to perform 3 miracles. (Hey, what can I say, the story of a mis-spent childhood…) But seriously, I’ve never met a saint before, until now.
Two days ago we met Gloria Lewis, a small firecracker of a woman in her 50’s from Barbados, now working as a waitress in Fort Lauderdale, who is doing more for the homeless than most major organizations. This woman, out of her small home, cooks over 170’bs of chicken a week, almost just as much Talapia, and spaghetti and meatballs to serve over 330 meals a week to those living on the streets in her Fort Lauderdale neighborhood near the airport.
This isn’t woman who is wealthy, nor is she funded by some big organization. No, this is a woman who funds all of this through the tips she makes at a local Deli, and sometimes, when things get tight, uses her own rent money to make sure these men and women at least get there one meal that day. But more than that, when we filmed her for Lost in America, we saw her son take off his own belt to help someone who needed a belt. We saw as they made sure to go by shoes for a man who was about to start a new job and needed shoes. But none of this could have prepared me for what happened next, and is why I would put Mrs. Gloria Lewis up for sainthood.
As we drove down NW 31st Ave she was telling us the story of Gramps, an older man who lived near a bus station. Last week his feet were swollen, so they had gone out and bought him a pair of sandals and she wanted to check in on him. Once she found him we waited for a moment as she went over to him. Suddenly she reappeared to grab a hand sanitizer saying, “Sorry boys, this is going to get dirty. You can stay here if you’d like.” We jumped out to see what was going on and there is Mrs. Lewis knelt over next to Gramps, looking over his feet. They were extremely swollen, and very worn. They had the type of crust, or dirt you would expect on someone who’s been living on the streets for a very long time, and sometimes without shoes. But Gloria didn’t mind. She got right to cleaning his feet for him. Yes, you heard that right, she knelt right in front of him and without hesitation started to wash this man’s feet. Finally after talking to him, and looking over his feet, she told him, “Now you stay right here hun and eat your meal. I’m going to go home, grab a bucket and put some hot water and epsom salts in it. I’ll bring some ointment and medicine, and we’ll take good care of you.
With that, she gave him a hug, got up and left with us. For her, it was no big deal. This was her everyday life. This is what all human beings were supposed to do. But then I told her that there was only one other person I’d ever heard of doing that before, and he was in the Bible. She just laughed, and carried on. We finished giving away the meals that day, but unfortunately, there were still people out there who she wasn’t able to feed. She said she’s going to try to work another shift so she can maybe cook 350 meals next week. But she knows that still won’t be enough.
If we could all just learn to follow her lead imagine what the world would be like. I want to reach out to everyone of you, and say we have to support his woman. She just got her 501c3, so lets help her. She truly is a saint. The name of her organization is Care in Action USA. I don’t think her website is up yet but her twitter is @Gigilewis. Reach out to her, she could use some help.
Oh, when I asked her why not just make one meal, it could save time and money, she said, because I don’t want no one telling me what I can eat, so I give them choices. I tell them you choose, chicken, spaghetti, or fish. I just wish they all didn’t want the fish, that’s the most expensive. But who doesn’t like fish? I think it was a favorite of Jesus’ too…