Yes We Can, Pensacola: Feed the Hungry
They were friends with different political views. It wasn't their differences, but their shared compassion for others that led them to start a movement. Together, they did the work of Angels In Our Midst.
"She was a Republican and I'm a Democrat but, see, that doesn't matter. What we both had in common was we really wanted to do something to help people." It was on a trip to their favorite store that Anna Houghton and her friend Maude Weeks saw a woman who had fruit trees in her front yard.
Anna vividly remembers the day, "She was picking up the fruit and throwing it in a dumpster that was going to get hauled off to the landfill. And I said, ‘Wow, look at that Maude.’ We just saw this guy that had a sign that said that he was hungry. She said, ‘You know, we could do something about that.’ I said, ‘You really think so?’ She said, ‘Yeah, we can.’"
Just like that, 10 years ago, the ladies started the organization, Yes We Can Pensacola; Feed the Hungry.
Anna says the goal was simple, "Our mission is to feed the hungry, keep food from going to a landfill."
In no time at all, Anna and Maude, who is now deceased, had a small army of like-minded followers who readily signed onto the mission. They find homeowners who have fruit trees in their yards who will allow them to pick the fruit and share it with others in the community who are in need.
Kate Peabody is one of the founding members of the group.
For her, this work is personal; "This community has given me a whole lot. You know, coming here, it was just my husband, who is passed now, and my son and myself. And when we were, like, down on our luck, there are so many people that reached out to us."
Anna shares that there are friendships that develop through their work, "We enjoy hanging out with people who have a like mind in that they want to help feed the hungry. So, they come out and donate all of their time to pick the fruit. And then we take it to a place like Waterfront, Manna, St. Joseph's Soup Kitchen."
From their varied walks of life and life experiences, they are about 50 strong and growing.
Kate says the shared passion for this work is what keeps them going and focused, "We've done this for 10 years straight, nonstop. This for me is like paying it forward; being able to give back to all of the goodness that has come into my life."
If you have trees and are willing to share your fruit to feed the hungry or if you'd like to volunteer, please call 850-748-0616.