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One Woman, 13,000 Free Meals

Next Tribe Alice Robinson


Who doesn’t want to give back, especially this time of year? But how, you ask? Take some inspiration from what happens in Long Beach, CA, on the first Wednesday of every month at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park Social Hall.

For 14 years, a program called the Friends of Alice Robinson feeds the needy. It’s led by one amazing woman – named Alice Robinson, as you might guess – who started the program using her Social Security pension to buy supplies. In her first year, Robinson made 445 meals. As of this year, more than 13,000 meals have been served.

Growing up on a farm in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Robinson saw her mom serve hot meals to neighbors. “It’s something I like doing and my parents did it so it felt natural to follow in their footsteps,” Robinson has said. Meals usually reflect Robinson’s Southern roots: fried chicken, vegetables, potato salad and cake or cupcakes for dessert.

Robinson admits it was hard but says when times were challenging, she just dug in and kept going, putting about $150 a month of her $800 pension towards the passion project. Over the years, others joined in. Now, the Friends of Alice Robinson has the support of several community organizations, and Alice herself has earned a raft of recognition, including a gold medallion from President Obama for her selfless service. A big shout-out to Robinson for showing just how much one person can accomplish for those in need.

Janet Siroto

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