Through the Come Eat Inc. organization in Morgan Mill, LZ Harris and her posse of dedicated people are selflessly finding ways to “Cowboy up!” and help folks in need where it counts, right in our neighborhoods.
If you’ve ever seen that colorful van around town with the Come Eat logo on it, that’s their soup kitchen on wheels. In addition they’ve come up with a clever way to specifically help feed hungry children. It’s their Mac-E-Fruit program that collects boxes of macaroni-and-cheese and fruit cups. Here’s what we learned from L.Z. Harris:
Q: How did the Mac-E-Fruit program come about?
A: Two years ago we had run out of food to serve the kids during the holidays. November and December are super busy months for Come Eat, Inc. due to the fact that the children do not receive food from the school programs during the holidays. We actually created Mac-E-Fruit, a four-foot-tall mouse with a wedge of cheese that holds the donations. You feed Mac-E-Fruit and the items go into the wedge of cheese. You can see him on our website at www.ComeEat.com.
We asked Nurture N' Nature Day Care if they would consider having Mac-E-Fruit set-up in their foyer allowing their kids and families to feed him for two weeks. Wow! We received a tremendous amount of support and were able to feed all of the children on our route during the entire holiday period.
Q: Can you give our readers any examples of specific acts of generosity that have helped the people you serve?
A: Once when our cupboards started running low we sent out word and Cowboy Church of Erath County generously donated over 1,000 meals worth of Mac-E-Noodles and fruit cups. And this past November we needed toothbrushes and toothpaste. Again we put the word out and a young man attending Tarleton named Matthew called and said he had all of the toothbrushes we needed and more - and he did!
Another example is the Jingle Bell Classic Team Roping Event [a USTRC-sanctioned event] that took place the first of December. It provided all of the canned goods that were needed. Ben Clements, Jodi and his family of cowboys and cowgirls sure were generous.
Q: Is this program ongoing year round?
A: Yes we operate year round. This past Thanksgiving week was a milestone marker for Come Eat, Inc. when meal number 50,000 since we began three years ago, rolled off the truck. Thanks to the generous support of so many volunteers, Cowboy Church of Erath County, St. Brendan's Catholic Church, Tarleton’s Dining Service, Sodexo, Schreiber Foods, Ms. Sue's Donut Shop, and the wonderful women who bake for us month after month and many other of our local churches.
We recently created the Come Eat, Clothes Closet that offers free gently-worn clothes to anyone in need. So far we have handed out about 2,500 articles of clothing. We accept donations of "like new" or new items at various times of the year by appointment.
We provide shoes, coats, blankets, toothbrushes, clothes, school supplies, and of course food. In addition we offer assistance with dental work when funds are available. We also connect those in need in regards to employment, education and transportation.
Q: What is the deadline for donations in order to make it in time for Christmas?
A: We will be distributing all of our Christmas gifts by Monday, Dec. 23. We are still in need of men's and women's size winter hats and gloves, and we have a list of about 20 kids who are still in need of Christmas gifts.
For more information, or to make an online donation, visit the website at www.ComeEat.com. If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities, Harris can be reached at 817-913-1235.