More

Why this family-run nonprofit that's feeding the hungry deserves to stay open.

'We do this to say, "Come be happy. Let us take care of you."'

Why this family-run nonprofit that's feeding the hungry deserves to stay open.
True
State Farm

Hosea Williams once had an interaction with a homeless man that changed his life — and his family — forever.

That day, he came across a man eating out of a garbage can, so he decided to buy him a sandwich. The man was so hungry he ate right through the wax paper to get to the food.

Williams was so struck by the experience that he immediately decided to do something to help on a larger scale. And as a national field officer for Martin Luther King Jr., he was no stranger to rallying humanitarian efforts. That Sunday, he and his family fed 100 homeless and hungry people.


Hosea Williams. All photos via State Farm.

And that was just the beginning of their work.

They soon started a nonprofit called Hosea Helps to keep their mission going to help the homeless and hungry. Now, over 40 years later, his daughter, Elisabeth Omilami, is at its helm.

Thanks to tireless efforts and thousands of volunteers, they've fed over 500,000 people since 1971.

Hosea Helps volunteers.

"We were there for Katrina. We were there for Flint, Michigan. We were there for Haiti and the Philippines, Uganda. We were there," Elisabeth says.

However, aside from helping during large-scale humanitarian crises, the organization shines on national holidays.

One of their biggest events happens on Thanksgiving. They serve Thanksgiving dinner to thousands of people at one time, and they can enjoy it while listening to live music.

They also give access to hot showers, clothing, toiletries, medical examinations, legal advice, job placement, chiropractor services, housing consultation, and counseling free of charge to those who need it.

"We do this to say, 'Come be happy. Let us take care of you,'" Elisabeth says.

Considering all they do, it's heartbreaking to learn Hosea Helps itself lost its home recently.

Hosea Helps volunteer closing down their original space.

They were given 30 days to vacate the space they'd been occupying for over 26 years. It was the same building where Elisabeth's father Hosea's offices once were.

Because of this major setback, the Omilamis weren't sure the organization was going to make it through the year.

However, thankfully, there's a new generation stepping up to the plate to make a difference.

Elisabeth's son, Awodele, is going to be taking over Hosea Helps and already has big plans for the nonprofit. He's been helping the homeless since he was a boy and will pick up the torch by spearheading renovations in their new building.

"We sold everything — we had just to get that building — but it was worth it to secure the future of our organization," Elisabeth says.

Jeremy Austin, one of Hosea Helps' volunteers.

They have high hopes for the new space, but they also have some incredible volunteers — many of whom used to be homeless themselves.

"When I got help, it was more than just food," says Jeremy Austin, one of Hosea Helps' volunteers who used to be homeless. "They actually helped me find a job. They pretty much changed my life."

Hosea Helps has 18 different programs designed to help solve the problems facing families and individuals who are living in poverty and may be facing homelessness.

Some of these programs are research-based while others are putting plans into action designed to ease the burden of poverty, but all programs are aimed at turning around the homelessness epidemic.

A child and grandmother at a Hosea Helps event.

"We’re all one big family," says Sean Peek, another volunteer. "We have to help each other out."

There's still a lot that needs to be done for Hosea Helps to get back on track, but the Omilamis aren't worried. They'll always find a way.

"Even if the future holds us having to make bologna sandwiches and take them under the bridge, then that’s what we’ll do," says Afemo.

Despite all that organizations like Hosea Helps do, homelessness remains an enormous problem in America. If you want to lend a hand, there are so many ways for you to get involved. Check out Hosea Helps' website for more details.

Learn more about their work here:

Help for the Holidays: Hosea Helps

They're going to feed thousands of homeless people this holiday season despite the fact that the organization was recently without a home itself.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 22, 2017
President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

Keep Reading Show less
via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

Keep Reading Show less