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Brown Bag Meals for the Homeless

$6,840 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 143 people in 20 months
On Aug. 26, 2017, after handing out 39 brown bag meals to the homeless in downtown Cincinnati, we spotted a guy, probably in his mid-20s, digging through a trash can. He didn’t find any food, so he hustled over to the next can. Nothing again. With one meal still in our possession, we ran and cut him off before he could start digging into another one.

“We are handing out meals tonight and have one left,” I said. “Would you like it?”

His eyes lit up. “Oh my God, are you kidding?” he said. “I’m starving!”

Since then, we have fed the homeless (and their dogs) dozens of times with brown bag meals we make in our Northern Kentucky home, about 15 minutes south of Cincinnati. It is a grassroots effort we started doing with our children and their cousins four years ago in Cleveland, Ohio, but we stopped doing it after a couple years because of busy lives and a lack of funds. Now a little older and wiser, we realize that making these meals IS life and needs to be done regularly.

In the summer of 2018, we officially became a 501(c)(3) charity called Walk the Mile, a line taken from the hymn "The Servant Song." Our intent is to do this at least once a month, be it in Cincinnati, Cleveland, or whatever town we may happen to be visiting. The meals we make today generally consist of a sandwich (usually turkey), fruit, chips, cookies, a couple bottles of water, and beef jerky (they love beef jerky!). The cost of a lunch is anywhere from about $1.50 to $2.50, depending on the number of meals we make and what type of sandwich we include. In the winter, we also provide gloves, blankets, hats, scarves and socks. And each time we go out, we bring different friends with us to help. Our hope is that our work will inspire them and their other friends to do this or something similar.

We are asking for donations of any amount. Even just $5 will make a significant difference by directly feeding two or three homeless people.

Also know that every penny donated (aside from gofundme's nominal fee) will go toward food or supplies (i.e., lunch bags, sandwich bags, utensils) that will end up directly in the hands of the homeless. Not a penny will go into our pockets or for any other expenses. Many charities will say that they have certain administrative costs. We have none. If you donate and would ever like to see our receipts, we will be more than happy to share them.  

We set a goal of raising $7,500. That is an arbitrary number. Whatever is raised will be appreciated beyond measure.

We will continually post photos and updates here of our work. Thank you for your generosity!! 

--The Croyle Family
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With the passing of Deb’s dad last month and a couple major events here at home, it’s been a while since we’ve fed the homeless, but we were back at it in a big way this past Saturday afternoon (11/17/18).

We distributed 40 bags, each with a blanket, hat, scarf, gloves, socks and food, including huge beef brisket sandwiches. We met Anthony “the Mayor”, Andre “the Preacher”, and a host of others. It took some effort to track them down since they can’t set up camps on the streets anymore, but we found them, and they were deeply grateful. Thank you to every one of you for your donations that made today possible. :-)
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Last night (7/12/18), we did something for the homeless we’d never done before: instead of the usual sandwiches, we made them dinner. We baked and seasoned 30 pounds of chicken and boiled 10 pounds of rice. Each meal also included corn, a roll, homemade cookies from Tammy Dorgan, cheese crackers, beef jerky, applesauce, a banana, water, Gatorade, and cards of encouragement made by the Gartner family. We fed 50 people, and for the first time, all the meals were gone by the time we got to the end of Third Street.

Thank you so much to Tammy and the Gartners for their contributions. And a very special thank you to Alison Setters, Mark Setters, Matthew Setters and Owen Setters for helping us make and distribute the meals. We could not have done this without their muscle. :-) We are very grateful for their friendship and desire to help us.

And thank you to all of you who have supported us and enabled us to provide such a hearty meal. Every recipient truly appreciated it. :-)
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It was a very spirited and inspiring night this past Friday (6/15/18) feeding the homeless downtown. We handed out 50 meals and 100 bottles of water with the Gartner family.

One gentleman we met, named Dave, has been homeless for 25 years. When he was 10, he witnessed his father murder his mother, and then he lost his father two weeks later to suicide. Dave is a very eloquent speaker who doesn't drink or do drugs, but he suffers from bipolar disorder and PTSD, which make it difficult for him to find stability in his life. He told us his story and encouraged our kids to continue making good choices and serving others.

We also met Kristen, a very fun and cheerful woman whose birthday is today. That's her in the pink with her arm around Vincent. She insisted that we take a photo of her with us while we sang Happy Birthday to her. :-)

Thank you all for your donations that made tonight possible. These people are hungry, but they are especially thirsty in this heat. We will get out again very soon.
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With a steady rain all evening, we weren’t sure how successful we’d be this past Friday night (5/18/18) finding and feeding the homeless. So, before hitting the streets, we peeked under the Fort Washington Way bridge between Second and Third streets in Cincinnati…and there they were. A few dozen of them, most in tents, protected from the elements. How we’ve never seen them there before, we have no idea. The meals were gone in minutes, and they were all very grateful, as always. We even met two dogs, Missy and Baby. Unfortunately, we forgot our dog biscuits. But, fortunately, we had enough meals to give each dog her own.
The kids who helped us tonight.
Mikayla with Missy
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$6,840 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 143 people in 20 months
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CA
$100
Chad Aldridge
2 months ago
AM
$300
Anthony J Mazzella
3 months ago
$50
Anonymous
4 months ago
JG
$50
Julie Grimes
4 months ago
MM
$50
Mary Jo Mazzella
4 months ago
KC
$20
Kathy Cervenka
5 months ago
MM
$50
Mona McCammon
5 months ago
JC
$100
Jean Croyle
5 months ago
RB
$30
Rob Bumm
5 months ago
AA
$25
Alex Adams
5 months ago
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