Do you know Catlyn Watkins and Addison Pointer? These two ladies are the founders and brains behind "Handy Lunches" in Florence, AL. Last year one of our first GO! visits was to see these two girls in action. Here's a little glimpse at what these two girls are about:
This past summer the two led a session at GO! Camp and also served as counselors. We love these two and were excited to get to catch up with them and see what they're up to now!
First of all, how do you and Addison know each other?
I actually met Addison in Girl Scouts when we were kids, but it wasn’t until she transferred to Mars Hill Bible School our sophomore year that we got to know each other. We’ve pretty much been best friends since then.
What is Handy Lunches?
Handy Lunches is a free meal program that we host the second Saturday of every month at the Handy Recreational Center. We arrange it there because the rec center is within walking distance of Florence’s government housing.
What inspired the two of you to start Handy Lunches?
Addison and I were doing a canned food drive our senior year of high school. When we took the boxes of food to people in the community, we were struck by how great a need there was, so we decided to do something on a bigger scale.
Would you say Handy Lunches has been successful?
Absolutely! The first Handy Lunches we served around 40 people, which was fantastic. Now we’re serving over 200. We’ve also been blessed to where we can provide more than just food. We would love to see Handy Lunches grow as big as possible. We love this.
What sorts of things have you been doing other than serving food?
We have had canned food giveaways a few times, which have been great because that benefits more than just that day. Our coat drive has been another big and needed one. We did goody bags for Easter, valentines in February, stockings of toys for the kids at Christmas. We’ve had festivals with puppet shows and candy, and we’ve done bible classes.
Are there other people that help you and Addison out each month?
Our churches both contribute food each month, and members help us organize and serve. We even had a local basketball team who made valentines in February, which was incredible. It was touching to see others outside Killen and Pleasant Valley churches of Christ wanting to get involved.
What else makes Handy Lunches possible?
First, keeping God first will always be a priority. None of this could have happened without Him. In addition to the volunteers, I could absolutely not do this without Addison. We work together so well. If we don't see something the same way, we compromise, work together, and figure it out. She's one of my best friends, and I don't think she will ever know how much it means to me that she did this with me and didn't look at me like I was crazy when we started. I would be lost without her.
Have any good stories from your experiences with Handy Lunches?
Handy Lunches was submitted to a pay-it-forward contest, and we were on the local news for that. Someone in Huntsville just saw us, heard the story, and sent a check to my church for Handy Lunches to use however needed. I literally cried. That someone who has no clue who we are was so generous and trusted us to use the money for the benefit of Handy Lunches meant so much to me. God is in this, and I truly see that He has blessed it beyond belief. Without Him we would have failed.
What can people do to help?
The way others can help is sending canned food, school supplies, coats, shoes: those kinds of things can always be used. We always love to hand out cards and goodies with Bible verses, and I know how much the visitors love it. Of course, cash donations are always nice. If someone is local, cooking one month would be great. But most of all we need prayers and encouragement. Just knowing someone out there is praying for Handy Lunches means so much to us.