Friday, August 10, 2012

Our Dallas Debut

Jason and Stephanie Melott served our first four meals in Dallas on Aug. 4 to Kendra and her kiddos.

We've mentioned this in passing before. Now, it's a reality. We've rolled up our sleeves in our third city.

Our Dallas ministry was made possible in part when one of our volunteers in Denver (Gary Nilson) was transferred to Texas for his job. It’s how God works.

Gary and our Texas team did their first outreach on Saturday, Aug. 4, serving a a total of 60 sack lunches.

Gaining a third city gave us a glimpse into the future of Filling The Void. Over a recent 8-day stretch, we did 5 outreaches in 3 states across 2 time zones.

We see more days ahead where we’re doing simultaneous outreaches in multiple cities – and not just three.

The vision we're pursuing is to take Filling The Void across the south and the west.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Special Salute: Sack Lunch No. 45,000

James received our milestone-making meal on Friday, May 18, as our volunteers cheered him on.

He was extremely gracious, posing for numerous pictures as we feted our new friend and showered him with gifts.

Of those gifts, he was most interested in a devotional book about the Bible to help him fight the good fight of faith.

We also gave him a brand new backpack, which he wanted to pass along to a friend who just had one stolen.

James is an Army veteran, having served 8 years. He originally hails from Alabama.

Like many that we serve, James really cares about being accepted in society. He has a great heart and is proud of how he served our country.

Sack Lunch Celebrations:

No. 45,000: May 18, 2012
No. 40,000: Oct.14, 2011
No. 35,000: April 1, 2011
No. 30,000: May 21, 2010
No. 25,000: Aug. 14, 2009
No. 20,000: Sept. 12, 2008
No. 10,000: July 11, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2012

1Q 2012 Results

For the first three months of 2012, we did 20 outreaches and served 1,770 meals, raising our total lunch bag tally (dating back to 2003) to 43,945.

Fourteen of those outreaches were in Tulsa where volunteers handed out 1,620 lunches. Special thanks go to Chris Hyslop for scheduling sermons for our Friday events.

Our Denver teams went out six times in the first-quarter, delivering 150 sack lunches. We tip our hat to Len Everett and Beth Poirier for leading.

All this puts us on pace to serve our 45,000th meal in May and our 50,000th meal maybe around November. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our 2011 Annual Report

CHART: That's an average of 4,686 meals per year since we started.

The deadline for non-profits (whose fiscal year ends Dec. 31) to file tax returns with the IRS is May 15. We got ours in for our Tulsa and Denver
 ministries on April 21 – almost a month ahead of schedule.

The form we file for both ministries is called a 990-N. It’s very simplistic since we have typically averaged less than $50,000 in donations per year.

The occasion gave us another opportunity to assess 2011 and to recall just how much we are blessed.

The level of revenue we’re receiving in Tulsa continues to pave the way for the future of Filling The Void, allowing us to supply the startup funds for our new ministries like we did in Denver and are preparing to do in Dallas.

This gives our new ministries strength right from the start, allowing us to put all of our focus on finding and serving the homeless and needy – not fundraising.

We’re also simply serving a lot more meals. In 2011, we served a total of 8,475 to set our all-time high for a single year – and up 46 percent from 5,800 in 2010. 

All told, our volunteers went out 97 times in 2011 to find folks, feed 'em and plant seeds of faith in their lives. Of that amount, we did 56 outreaches in Tulsa and 41 in Denver.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Filling The Void Serves No. 40,000

Wanda, center, received our 40,000th sack lunch.

Last year was a record-setter for Filling The Void on all kinds of fronts.

With the awesome support of our donors and volunteers, we served more meals (8,475), held more outreaches (97) and received more donations than in any prior year.

All of that activity boils down to meant-to-be moments where we get to meet and minister to some pretty special folks.

Take Wanda, for example. We saw her twice in 2011. Both times defined what this ministry is all about – seeing lives go from meals to miracles.

On Friday, Oct. 14, in Tulsa, we served our 40,000th sack lunch. The recipient, of course, was Wanda. She was surprised, excited and honored.

Two weeks later, we ran into her again as we were combing the streets. We didn’t recognize her at first. We just spotted a woman on a bike riding away from one of the shelters.

It turned out to be Wanda. She had begun going to a women’s Bible study there. She said it was just what she needed. We agreed, and encouraged her to continue.

That’s what we do – plant seeds of hope that we believe will bear much fruit in very hungry hearts. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Major Milestone Ahead

Can you guess how many of these sack lunches we've served?

It's time to mark your calendars for a major milestone in the life of our ministry.

Here's the scoop. Going into 2011, we had distributed approximately 33,700 sack lunches dating back to when we started in 2003.

So far in 2011, we've delivered another 1,050 meals in Denver and about 4,800 in Tulsa.

When you do the math and factor in a few of the vouchers we've given, we're pretty close to a total of 39,600.

That, tenatively, puts us on schedule for distributing our 40,000th meal on Friday, Oct. 14. Stay tuned.

Prior Sack Lunch Celebrations

No. 10,000: July 11, 2007
No. 20,000: Sept. 12, 2008
No. 25,000: Aug 14, 2009
No. 30,000: May 21, 2010
No. 35,000: April 1, 2011

September 2011


These days, life is a lot different for Larry Reese.

He started 2011 at Tulsa’s Day Center for the Homeless, where he had laid his head at night for the better portion of the past four years.

Before that, he had been on the street for a year following the passing of his wife and then her twin sister. For Larry, he just couldn’t cope with the losses.

This February, life took a big turn for the better. That’s when case workers were able to land Larry a place of his own – an apartment in east Tulsa.

His portion of the rent requires a third of his Social Security income. He keeps the place spotless and loves having a couch, coffee cup and stove again.

We had the privilege of visiting with him twice this summer. We delivered groceries once when he needed some meat and dairy, but for the most part, Larry’s pretty well set.

In fact, he proudly took us on a tour of his kitchen in early September where he was sautéing franks and sauerkraut. He opened up his cupboard, too, which was full of pasta, soup, pinto beans, tuna, mac-n-cheese and tomato juice.

He’s been able to find friends in the apartment complex, eat pizza with a neighbor and watch robins hatch in a tree outside his front door.

We’ll have to tell you more the bigger picture of Larry’s life another time – why he was given up for adoption, how abuse shaped his early years and eventually turned into anger, and how he finally got to meet his birth mom.

In the meantime, it’s good to know that Larry is enjoying the comforts of home, and we’re so happy for him. The change is a welcome site even for our eyes since we had only known him at his depths.

On Nov. 4, he’ll celebrate birthday No. 63. We’re thinking that a cake has to be in order for this very special friend of ours.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring 2011

Friends remember Sherry Scott at a May 4 memorial service.
Photo courtesy and copyright of the Tulsa World newspaper.


On May 5, one of our friends was on the front page of the Tulsa paper. It was not the kind of news anyone wants to read.

Sherry Scott, a homeless woman, was dead at the age of 40. Her body was found on a boulevard just west of downtown. Cause of death? Unknown.

We knew Sherry. We had fed and prayed with her many times. She liked to be hugged. And by our account, she had a really hard life on the streets.

Of course, we wonder what her life could have become. How many more years would she have walked on earth if she had not been so afflicted?

Sherry does have a daughter named Andrea who’s 18. She’s been in the state’s care most of her life. Now she’s on her own. Please, pray for her.

Ministry, like life, is filled with emotion. Some times are sweet. Others are bittersweet. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, God prepares us for both. It says:

"There’s a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance."

April 1 was one of those sweeter moments. It was the day we distributed our 35,000th sack lunch. We’re always eager to see who gets the special bag.

This time it went to a young man named Kyle who’s the same age as Sherry’s daughter. He’s been coming to our Tulsa outreaches for several months.

In every single city, you can find a Sherry, a Kyle and multitudes like them – people wanting to be loved and needing to know their purpose.

God mentions the poor and needy at least 200 times in scripture. As we’ve seen with Sherry and others, we need to reach them now.

Kyle, left, received our 35,000th lunch bag, as well as a big chocolate bar and a Bible.