|DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good Franklin, Emmitt and Pat Smith, Kirk and Tammy Franklin, Cheryl and Artis Jackson (Photo: Pat Smith)|
"If you can't feed a hundred... Feed just one." This is the motto of Minnie's Food Pantry under the guidance of founder Cheryl "Action" Jackson. Like her mentor, Oprah Winfrey, Jackson prides herself on being someone who doesn't just motivate but who moves people to activate so like a preacher ministering to her congregation, Jackson had attendees to her annual gala repeat that phrase throughout the night at the 6th Annual Charity Gala held on Monday, November 3, 2014 at the Westin Stonebriar Resort Hotel in Frisco. As a little girl, her mother, Minnie Ewing, often wondered if and when she would receive her next meal. She painted the picture to Jackson of her grandmother walking for miles to work two jobs to provide food and shelter for their family. Jackson’s parents raised seven children. It seemed as though the doors to her home revolved like a store as she watched her parents distribute food, clothes, and most importantly their time and prayers to the community and members of their congregation.
|Keisha Knight Pulliam and Emmitt Smith|
In attendance at Monday's gala was Emmitt Smith there to support his wife, emcee Pat Smith. No stranger to motivating a crowd was Pat's co-emcee was former Oprah audience producer, Sally Lou. Among those in attendance was Kirk and Tammy Franklin, Keisha Knight Pulliam (Not ringing a bell? How about the name Rudy Huxtable from The Cosby Show? Now, you see it!), DeVon and Meagan Good Franklin, Steve Kemble, Jody Dean, and Brely Evans.
The big buzz of the night came during the live auction when Anita Hawkins and Katrina Hunter got into a bidding war. The item causing such consternation? A trip to NYC and an opportunity to attend the red carpet premiere of the new remake of the smash Broadway musical ANNIE (Watch the trailer - it looks adorable). The bidding escalated to $50,000 and just when Cheryl Jackson was about to hyperventilate the donor agreed to match the package, so each lady could have this glorious experience and in one fell swoop Minnie's Food Pantry raised $100,000 on ONE AUCTION ITEM. It was a pretty amazing moment. To date, Minnie’s Food Pantry has helped feed over 165,000 people and distributed over 3.9 million meals. A special shoutout to Karen Lukin of Whole Foods who invited me to be a guest at her table & experience this amazing event.
Cheryl ended the night letting everyone know that to date she has over 2400 families on her list needing Thanksgiving dinners - so that means Minnie's Food Pantry needs MONEY and VOLUNTEERS! To learn more about this amazing organization and how you can get involved, visit http://minniesfoodpantry.org.
Here are more scenes from the night:
|Pat Smith, Cheryl Jackson, a representative From Franklin University awarding Cheryl and her Mother, Minnie Ewing an honorary doctorate degree, Sally Lou|
|Minnie Ewing and Artis Jackson|
|LeeAnne Locken, Cynthia Smoot, Steve Kemble, Leah Pasant and Whole Foods Karen Lukin|
photos: Minnie's Food Pantry