The Giving Key was meant to wear and to share, so tonight I gave it to Justin Kamimoto. Justin is the Founder of M.E.A.L. (Meals Engaging All Lives) “a not-for-profit community program that cooks, packages and gives home cooked meals to homeless individuals in Downtown Fresno."
When Justin approached his parents about opening up their home for volunteers to cook, prepare and deliver home-cooked meals to the homeless, they were receptive. That first gathering of Fresno’s M.E.A.L. on November 23, 2013 had 32 people and they fixed Turkey, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Corn, Stuffing and a dessert. That meal and every meal since then has also included a granola bar, soap bar, water bottle packaged in a colorfully decorated white lunch bag with a picture or quote.
Imagine being homeless on the street and someone walks up to give you a bag filled with home-cooked food. You open bag to the discover food that was recently cooked. Every volunteer that has done that, myself included, can tell you stories of the gratitude, the love in return and the humbleness of that experience.
Justin ‘outgrew’ the number of volunteers and space to keep providing home cooked meals to the homeless every month. “The Painted Table” in Fresno stepped up and offered their commercial kitchen and space to prepare and assemble the meals.
To date Fresno M.E.A.L has delivered 5,870 + meals. Imagine the love and dedication it takes to accomplish that every month. Justin had the vision of M.E.A.L. and made it a reality. Now, Justin Kamimoto has one of The Giving Keys.