How One Long Beach Retiree Is Feeding So Many Needy People On A Fixed Budget

Alice Robinson is not the wealthiest woman in the world, but she doesn’t let that stop her from donating money, time and energy to feeding hungry and homeless people in Long Beach. For 12 years in a row, Alice has prepared and served thousands of meals featuring her favorite soul food recipes, according to KNBC News. She recently celebrated this amazing accomplishment with a myriad of friends and supporters, reports the Press-Telegram.

Generosity of spirit aptly describes Alice Robinson, and at 77 years of age, she continues to embody old-fashioned southern hospitality. Robinson, who is affectionately known as Ms. Alice, grew up in the South and first learned about hospitality from her mother. She relays that her mother never allowed anyone to leave her home hungry. Her mother’s generosity of spirit made an impression on young Alice, and she decided that she would one day do the same for others, reports KNBC News. In a world where many people struggle to eat one decent meal a day, Robinson is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Long Beach may be a long ways from her Southern roots, but Ms. Alice knows a thing or two about down home cooking, and she serves up authentic soul food once per month. To make it easier for her to carry out her mission, Robinson formed Friends of Alice Robinson and recruited local volunteers to help her with cooking and serving duties, reports Signal Tribune. A typical menu features soul food favorites such as fried chicken, ribs or turkey with sides of mashed potatoes and vegetables. Diners also receive desserts such as old-fashioned peach cobbler, pudding and cupcakes.

Jennifer Woodard Maderazo via flickr
FOAR relies on regular donations from long-time supporters such as the Prevailing and Christ Ministry, the church she attends, and Sam Hill, her brother-in-law who donates every few months. Robinson also digs deep into her own pocket to donate money for food and supplies. She does this in spite of high food and living costs. This is why some people in Long Beach view Ms. Alice as an angel. So far, Robinson and her brood of earthly angels have served 11,000 free meals and counting, which is quite a feat for a woman on a fixed income.

Over the years, Robinson steadily built FOAR into a successful organization while developing leadership skills thanks to the help of the Neighborhood Leadership Program, a project of LB Development Services. The Neighborhood Leadership Program trains local leaders on skills such as how to communicate effectively, applying for grants, identifying partnership opportunities and public speaking, according to LB Development Services. Participants also meet with local community and government decision-makers. According to friend and FOAR volunteer PG Herman, Robinson steadily grew in confidence and her leadership skills evolved due to the excellent mentoring she received.

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FOAR is also a family affair, and Robinson’s husband, Benny, pitches in and helps out, as do her son and two daughters. On average, around 80 people show up at FOAR events on the first Wednesday of each month. Robinson’s charitable contributions to the community have not gone unnoticed. Her achievements are recognized by the Long Beach Fire Department, Long Beach Police Department, and the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. Those who know Alice Robinson feel she has a heart of gold, and the recognition is simply icing on the cake for her.

Alice Robinson has become somewhat of a Long Beach institution, and she acknowledges that she is recognized by many as someone who feeds people. It is amazing what a few dollars can do in the hands of someone like Ms. Alice. In her world, being rich is serving up plates of yams, fried chicken and collard greens.

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