Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Arnetta Griffin of God's Kitchen in Kenosha
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It’s scary not to know where your next meal is coming from. Arnetta Griffin has been there. The mother of eight knows what it’s like to be hungry and homeless. Three years ago, she started feeding others with what little she had. Now, her organization, God’s Kitchen of Kenosha, is feeding hundreds of people.
On a recent morning, Griffin, many of her children and grandchildren all gathered at Kenosha’s Model Market. They were waiting on a big donation from Amazon.
“We don't know what it is until it gets here, but I know it's some good stuff because it's coming from Amazon,” Griffin said.
They’d been waiting on the delivery for more than an hour, when Griffin took to Facebook live.
“So come on down, get ya'll some food,” she enthusiastically told the camera, letting people know where they could come to get some free groceries.
The truck arrived mid-morning, loaded with eight palettes of donated food—everything from cereal to snacks and drinks. People started lining up early to get something to eat.
“Thank you, Lord,” Griffin exclaimed as she looked over the bounty.
It’s Griffin’s hard work and dedication that made this donation happen.
“Three years ago, I started with sandwiches,” she said.
She started God’s Kitchen of Kenosha when she didn’t have anything herself.
“I was doing it out my own money, because I'm on SSI and I get food stamps,” she explained.
She started feeding others, because she knows what it’s like to be hungry.
“We had got evicted. We used to stay in abandoned buildings,” she said of her family. “We was always homeless, you know, because I'd got sick and lost my job.”
But she worked to get back on her feet. Now, her family helps her give back.
“Whatever they need. They need food, they need clothes, they need toiletries? They need to be pointed in the right direction,” Griffin’s daughter-in-law Shayna said Arnetta is willing to find a way to make it happen.
Her son, Jerrell, has watched God’s Kitchen grow through his mother’s hard work.
“She's loving, caring. She's down to earth. Humble,” he said.
“And if she doesn't have it, she's going to find a way to get it. And if she doesn't have enough, she always goes back to make sure she gets more, because that's what Arnetta do,” Shayna said.
The groceries coming from Amazon were a special delivery. It doesn’t happen every day.
But just two hours later, Griffin was back out on a street corner in downtown Kenosha, doing what she does twice a day.
“She comes out here at lunchtime and at dinner time and we thank her for it, said Lonnie Seward.
On this day, she handed out tacos from Taco Bell and soda, but a lot of times, she cooks the meals herself, feeding about 70 people at a time. Homemade macaroni and ribs are some of her favorite things to cook. She calls them the unfortunate ones.
“I don't like to call them the homeless people. Whoever's hungry,” she said.
Anthony Jefferson owns 5-Star Moving, the company that delivered the donation from Amazon.
“She feeds people twice a day, if not more, seven days a week, rain, sleet, snow,” Jefferson said.”She’s just an inspiration for everybody.”
Jefferson read an article about Griffin and said he knew he had to help her cause.
“I empty out the back of my truck and make myself available and we make sure this supply chain stays flowing,” he said.
It’s the same thing you hear from all of the people who know Griffin, like DJ Mr. 262.
“If she calls me, I'm there. I can't even think of the words. It's like when you have people doing stuff like this, you can't come up with words to describe a person like that,” he said.
One young woman didn’t have the words, either. Just a hug and some tears to show her gratitude.
“It makes me stronger and it makes me want to come out here and do more for them,” Griffin said.
For more information on God’s Kitchen of Kenosha, just visit www.godskitchenofkenosha.com.
If you’d like to nominate someone for Natalie’s Everyday Heroes, send Natalie a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.