Owner of a servant’s heart

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Eleven years ago, life as Cynthia Fletcher-Bryant knew it had changed forever. Her husband, Kurt Bryant, the love of her life, was killed May 27, 2007.

Holidays for the Bryants were a special and festive time. When ringing in the new year, they would reflect on the past year and reminisce over the fond memories and blessings they shared with each other.

Without his love, holiday mornings, especially Christmas, was filled with pain, teardrops and sadness. That tragic day in May left her without much to smile about.

“There were times I felt lost. I didn’t want to be crying again for Christmas and throughout the holiday season,” said Fletcher-Bryant.

Today, Fletcher-Bryant is moved by a dream. She had a dream that one day she would own a shelter to help aid others back to life. She holds this dream to be self- evident that one day the homeless will be free from the state of their condition.

Fletcher-Bryant started praying and received a spiritual revelation from God to do something different and go feed his sheep.

Unsure of how to fulfill the dream or the meaning of the message, she was still determined to serve his people. She began riding around St. Petersburg where she noticed far too many homeless people scattered about. She knew what she had to do to realize her dream.

On Christmas morning 2008, Bryant cooked a meal of grits, eggs, bacon, sausage and oatmeal. In her heart, she felt even the homeless deserve to be given a choice of what they wanted to eat.

Along with her mother-in-law and great-niece, she packed up her car with the meals and drove around the city distributing the joy of a hot meal.

Now, 11 years later, the gift giving has become a tradition. Her niece, Xavier Williams, has served with her every year and more people have been added. Nephew Kenny, sister Kathy along with her husband Keith Atwater also participate when they can. The good gesture is well-received, and Fletcher-Bryant never asks anyone to join.

Each year, her volunteers wear a shirt with a picture of her husband on it to feel as if they are still spending the day together. Serving people is something that he enjoyed doing as well.

“At this point, everyone who knows me knows what I’m doing Christmas morning,” said Fletcher-Bryant, noting that she doesn’t ask for donations, but for the past three years have received some.

Fletcher-Bryant shared a story that one year a man followed the breakfast deliverers the entire day until they ran out of food. The gentleman finally shared that he just enjoyed watching them serve with such compassion.

“The Lord put this in my spirit so I just trust the Lord to provide. I heard preacher Chuck Swindoll say how salvation is when we share, giving to others. We don’t always have to tell people about Christ, let our works speak.”

From the noble beginnings of a hot breakfast, Fletcher-Bryant has a vision to own a shelter to allow the lost to come in, regroup and walk out in a better state. The need is great, and the help is few, but she is a willing servant.

To reach Dexter McCree, email dmccree@theweeklychallenger.com

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