Hey KIND Humans! Joyce here! I am the founder of Finding humanKIND, the whirlwind creation inspired by my 33 years of exploration, discovery, and beautiful relationships. I’ve been lucky enough to meet amazing individuals I will never forget and besides their diversities, they all had one thing in common, a commitment to changing our world.
They’ve inspired me to begin this journey with one mission, to inspire and empower change!
Join me on this cross-country adventure because, together, we CAN make a difference!
What inspired me and Finding HumanKIND?
Meet Ms. Bonnie, the greatest woman I’ve ever known whose love and dedication to the community knows no bounds. Here’s her story. I know she will inspire you just as she has inspired me. Enjoy…
You know the gut wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach, tightening more and more as you grow hungry by the minute? Not only affecting you physically, but emotionally, and commonly known as being “hangry.” A word I know all too well. Eventually the uncomfortableness slowly dissipates as if your stomach is tired of being empty and loses hope. You quickly run to the fridge for a quick snack to hold you over until the next meal or just gorge right then and there because you have no self-control.
Right now, you’re shaking your head in agreement because you know exactly what I am talking about. As humorous as this is, there is a hard reality not many people know or understand. Those that live in constant hunger are not just the homeless or those in third world countries, but are our neighbors, co-workers and children in our schools. They’re families who own homes and have jobs, and still cannot make ends meet. They know hunger well, and there isn’t a quick snack for them because their fridges are empty and shelves bare. Even more disheartening, 1 in 6 children in America worry about when or where their next meal will come. It could be weeks, months, and even years.
For the past 3 years, I’ve passionately worked in the fight against hunger with Feeding Tampa Bay, the largest food bank in West Central Florida. In that time, I’ve met some pretty amazing people. Their determination and compassion for others laid the foundation for Finding HumanKIND, leading me on this journey to find those who dedicate their lives to making a difference. Through their stories, I’ve learned adversity is always matched by kindness. We are all capable of truly changing lives, and at Feeding Tampa Bay, we’re doing it one meal at a time.
Out of all the beautiful people I’ve been lucky enough to meet, there was one woman who was my first inspiration. I hope to, one day, have her strength and spirit. If you ever want to see what selflessness looks like, please meet Ms. Bonnie.
As the Executive Director of Kingdom Kids, her one and only mission is to feed all the hungry children in her community, providing them a chance to just be kids. Ms. Bonnie was inspired by her grandmother, who was the first social worker in the community and only had a 2nd grade education. She would welcome countless children in need to her home for a warm southern meal and a safe place to sleep. Remembering her grandmother, Ms. Bonnie would say, “I always knew that if I could be half the woman my grandmother was, I would be something great.”
Each week rain, shine, hurricane, or flood, Ms. Bonnie makes the 30-minute drive to the foodbank in her pickup truck to pack it full of food for hundreds of children in need. The moment she enters the warehouse, her welcoming smile and warm greeting immediately embrace you and your day can’t help but get better. Her dedication to her mission is unwavering. She’ll walk from end to end of the warehouse, pushing 500 pounds of food and after many tired breaths, she’ll take a quick break and continue packing each box with great care into her truck, one by one like a game of Tetris. What looks like a seemingly impossible feat, Ms. Bonnie makes it look like a breeze.
Ms. Bonnie truly makes a difference in every life she touches. She has served more than 30,000 hot meals to students relying on school lunches, distributed hundreds of boxes of fresh food to her hungry neighbors and fostered over 100 children! She believed, “Children just want to feel safe and loved, treated like part of the family. It’s so rewarding to see the kids stand on their own two feet.”
Not only does she work day and night cooking up the most delectable southern meals for those in need, she also treats every person with the dignity and respect they deserve, yet rarely receive. As one of her clients stated, “I was a business owner and I had to walk away from it all when my partner got sick. I’ve never asked for help before, so it was very difficult to make that call. Not only does Ms. Bonnie go above and beyond to help my kids and I, she also treats me like family. This means the world to me, especially now.”
Ms. Bonnie’s work is widely recognized in the community, as she was recently named the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero. She is determined and driven by passion to give to others, even before herself. In 2016 Ms. Bonnie’s husband sadly passed away. Despite the tragic loss, she woke up early the next day to cook hundreds of hot meals to local seniors and children. When I encouraged her to take time to mourn, she shook her head no and explained, “I can’t stand the thought of sitting at my table while others sit at theirs without a meal.” If that’s not true strength and passion, I don’t know what is.
Ms. Bonnie, because of you the world is a better place. Thank you for inspiring me and many others for years to come.
Thank you Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, Florida for featuring Finding HumanKIND! Check out the story here.