Bringing healing to Newtown, one pie at a time
December 19th, 2012
10:30 AM ET
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Beth Howard pulled up to Newtown in her 24-foot-long camper, loaded with 240 apple pies.

She dished out pie to kids from Sandy Hook Elementary School, grieving parents and anyone who asked.

She describes herself as an attaché for grief, with her greatest gift being pie “made from love.” Most people simply call her "the pie lady."

“Pie is meant to be shared,” she said. “It’s meant to be given away.”

As she spoke, there was a knock on her door. Women preparing a wake for one of the slain girls would like some pie for mourners.
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Filed under: Dishes • Feed the Soul • Local Heroes • News • Nostalgia • Pie • Think


August 15th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
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The smoky aroma of chicken and sausage gumbo fills the air inside Café Reconcile. A moist, tender pot roast emerges from the oven while the timid hands of novice knife holders chop onions and peppers.

It’s two hours before lunch time inside Café Reconcile and Chef Joe Smith sounds like an old-gospel preacher filled with the Holy Spirit teaching a small group of young men and women how to bring New Orleans-style food to life.

“It’s called soul food because there was no measuring, they just knew how they felt,” Chef Joe tells his captivated audience as they prepare the day’s lunch menu. “I feel it!”

But this isn’t your ordinary New Orleans kitchen. Chef Joe isn’t just teaching the mechanics of cooking. This is the kitchen of life.
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Filed under: Charity • Local Heroes • New Orleans • New Orleans


August 12th, 2011
11:00 AM ET
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Knoxville, Tennessee (CNN) - Helen Ashe experienced many hardships growing up in Abbeville, South Carolina, during the 1930s and '40s. Her family's first house had no lights or running water.

But even during tough times, she and her twin sister, Ellen, were taught to be selfless.

"My daddy taught us not to take the last piece of bread from the table; somebody may come by that's hungry," Ashe remembered.

Since 1986, Ashe has been leaving a whole lot more than bread on the table.

As the founder of the Love Kitchen in Knoxville, Tennessee, she has helped serve more than 1 million free meals to those in need.

FULL STORY: 'Love Kitchen' delivers for Knoxville needy

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open for 2011 CNN Heroes

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Filed under: Local Heroes • Think


March 25th, 2011
10:15 AM ET
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In the shadows of Disneyland, often referred to as the "happiest place on Earth," many children are living a reality that's far from carefree.

They are living in cheap motels more commonly associated with drug dealers, prostitutes and illicit affairs.

It's the only option for many families that are struggling financially and can't scrape together a deposit for an apartment. By living week to week in these cramped quarters, they stay one step ahead of homelessness.

"Some people are stuck, they have no money. They need to live in that room," said Bruno Serato, a local chef and restaurateur. "They've lost everything they have. They have no other chance. No choice."

While "motel kids" are found across the United States, the situation is very common in Orange County, California, a wealthy community with high rents and a large number of old motels. In 2009, local authorities estimated that more than 1,000 families lived in these conditions.

When Serato learned that these children often go hungry, he began serving up assistance, one plate at a time. To date, he's served more than 270,000 pasta dinners - for free - to those in need.

Read Making sure 'motel kids' don't go hungry

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Filed under: Hunger • Local Heroes


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