Pastor Deborah Hill of New Hope of Glory Ministries has dedicated her life to focusing on childhood hunger. Soon her Bridge of Hope Kitchen will open in south St. Petersburg to reduce hunger by identifying school-age children and families and providing them with warm, nutritious meals where in some cases may be the last meal of the day.
ST. PETERSBURG — How many times throughout the week do you ask yourself: “What should I eat today?”
Now imagine if it were: “Can I eat today?”
It’s humbling to think how a few different words can change your entire approach to life. Unfortunately, systemic economic inequalities lead underrepresented communities to experience hunger at a greater rate.
According to data from Feeding America, which estimates more than 38 million people in the United States face hunger each year, including 12 million children, in 2020, 24 percent of Black individuals experienced food insecurity, more than three times the rate of white households.
Pastor Deborah Hill of New Hope of Glory Ministries has dedicated her life to focusing on childhood hunger. Back in 2019, Hill broke ground on the Bridge of Hope Kitchen (BOHK), and in a few months, the kitchen will be open for business.
Hill and her five siblings were raised in a single-parent household. She remembers all too well the struggles and sacrifices her mother made to feed her family. She recalled a common theme at the dinner table where her mother would make sure everyone ate before herself.
“Are you going to eat,” she remembers asking her mother. “I’ll be okay,” her mother answered gently. Regardless of the challenges she may have faced, Hill’s mother always embraced those around her with love that would radiate through her eyes.
Her mother’s acts of kindness inspired Hill’s life of service. She decided to start the BOHK to honor something her mother said that never left her: “If you have a piece of bread, everyone should have a piece of bread.”
Hill is creating pathways for families in the Pinellas County School District, particularly in south St. Petersburg, to have a place to receive a hot meal.
“These children live in a world unfamiliar to most,” said Hill, a 17-year employee of Jabil, headquartered in St. Pete. “They face stereotypes, countless obstacles, and a cloud of hopelessness hanging over them. These are only children, and we need to inspire them to a brighter outlook.”
The effect of hunger on children also impacts behavioral issues and concentration in school, oftentimes leading to developmental delays and grade remediation.
Hill is grateful for the commitment of her BOHK team, a group of individuals dedicated to this inspiring work happening within the community.
Her great work in the community elevates Jabil’s purpose-driven workplace, where caring for others radiates throughout the organization. The support Hill has received from Jabil employees has empowered her to push forward and be a community leader and advocate for students in St. Petersburg.
“Jabil truly cares, and it speaks volumes that we’re here to help the community, in the hard places that take work,” said Hill, noting that her colleagues are looking forward to volunteering alongside her to further her mission.
If you’d like to volunteer or have any questions, visit thehopekitchen.com.
This article originally appeared on jabil.com