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Founders Bob and Alisa Gound

Alisa's Story

One day, while standing in the school parking lot, a teacher approached me with an idea for a community problem-solving project. She recounted the heart-wrenching story of a young girl who would take food from school to alleviate her hunger at home.

This brave little girl would place the food in a simple Ziploc bag, only to find it mushed and inedible by the end of the day. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that children, right here in our own community, were facing hunger. I had always associated hunger with third world countries, but this encounter shattered that assumption.

I knew deep within me that someone needed to take action, but I doubted whether I had the capability to make a difference. Insecurities plagued my mind, hindering me from stepping out and doing something extraordinary. Little did I know that this encounter would be the spark that ignited such a passionate movement.

 

Overcoming Fear: A Leap of Faith

One of my biggest fears was speaking in front of others, whether it be to a room full of people or even just engaging in conversation with strangers. The mere thought of it would cause my heart to race and anxiety to surge.

Starting a nonprofit organization meant I would have to confront these fears head-on, interacting with people individually and addressing groups. Fear had held me back for two long years, allowing doubt to overshadow the potential impact I could have made. But then, one fateful day, I made a decision. I resolved to no longer cry in church, consumed by the guilt of not fulfilling God's calling. I uttered the words, "You win" to God, relinquishing my fears and insecurities. I may not be capable, but I believed that my God was. From that point on, my journey with Soul Food began.

 

A Humble Start: Feeding the Hungry

Through a conversation with a family resource coordinator at my child's school during open house, I discovered that there were indeed hungry children in need of food on weekends. There was no turning back. My family and I decided to personally provide nourishment to four children that school year. Witnessing the impact we had made, I felt the urge to expand this initiative to serve all schools in Johnson County.

 

Soul Food is Born: A Mission of Love

Gathering several friends for a meeting, we came up with the name "Soul Food" and our tagline: "feeding more than bellies, reaching hearts and souls." It was important for us to convey to these children that our actions were fueled by the love we had received through Christ. Thus, Soul Food was more than just providing sustenance; it was a holistic approach that aimed to cultivate love and nourish the entire being.

 

Growing to Serve: Overcoming Challenges

The following school year, Soul Food committed to feeding 46 children every weekend. The impact was undeniable, and thus began our journey of growth. Year after year, the program expanded, reaching more children in need. However, the success of Soul Food was not made possible by a single person alone. It continues today led by many wonderful people who play integral roles in ensuring the continuity and growth of Soul Food. Every volunteer and supporter has played a vital part in fulfilling God's plan to combat childhood hunger in our community.

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