She walked over to a table and warmly smiled at the man savoring his Christmas Eve meal. No matter who they were, everyone should have a meal, was a principle Erin Morris, a Palm Beach resident, lives by.
“God put it in my heart to do whatever I can to share the love He’s given me with others. A practical way to love is to meet needs,” Morris said.
LOT 365 is a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to help the homeless. Not only do they provide food, but also give basic necessities such as clothes and furniture. LOT 365 is a combination of a food bank, pantry, drive, and a storage unit for the other needs. According to www.feedingamerica.org, food banks store food, food pantries reach out to the community, and food drives are the way to give the food directly to the homeless.
“The organization as a whole has many functions. LOT 365 has weekly food pantries out of various volunteers’ homes,” Morris said. “We also hold special events, like one on Christmas Eve, which is more like a [food] drive. Every Saturday, a few volunteers go on a route, stopping around West Palm Beach.”
Even though became the president of LOT 365 in 2015, Morris has always lived by her motto of everyone having a meal.
“[I] have coordinated weekly homeless feedings since September, 2012, when the organization began under a different name,” Morris said
As the president and main coordinator of the organization, Morris has multiple responsibilities.
“I pick up donations from stores and restaurants two days per week, coordinates volunteers, and delivers food to families without vehicles. I also sort donations of clothes and maintain a Facebook group where we offer some of the donations,” Morris said.
Volunteers are key; they are just as important as the coordinator, Morris said. According to www.dosomething.org, most programs, like LOT 365, do not have paid staff, so every volunteer is essential.
“For special events for the homeless, we need at least 30 [volunteers], but recently had over 100 volunteers, which is great. The more volunteers we have, the more we do,” she said.
Morris volunteers year round, but there are seasons that have higher demands for food.
“We feed over 100 homeless each week. Approximately 100-200 people receive food each week from our food pantries,” Morris said. “Summer is probably our highest demand due to children being home, so they aren’t eating free lunches at school.”
While Morris enjoyed volunteering, there was something more to it that she appreciated.
“I love inspiring others to get involved. I believe easing the suffering of others should be a part of everyday life. It’s a blessing to give and to help others discover that fact!” Morris said.
Morris based LOT 365 off of a religious background, with a powerful meaning behind the name.
“Our name comes from a Bible verse in Matthew, where Jesus made it clear that even people who are considered ‘least’ in a society are so important to him,” Morris said, “that when we help them, he considers it a kindness towards him. LOT=least of these. 365=everyday.”
The world full of “hurting people”, Morris said, need help and she is out to do that one meal at a time.
“A lot of times I find that people are more thankful that someone took the time to care about them, than they are about their need being met,” Morris said. “We all have something to give and a community grows stronger together to make a big difference.”