January 31, 2019 | Belize City, Belize | Libna Stevens/IAD

Tuesdays and Thursday are the highlight of the week for Melva Robinson. That’s because every Tuesday and Thursday for the last three years she has fulfilled her dream of sharing her love for children in her native country of Belize. Robinson has been able to provide thousands of meals to needy children studying at six elementary schools in the heart of Belize City, thanks to the committed financial support of Seventh-day Adventist Church members in the area.

Young students from several elementary schools in Belize City, Belize, eat lunch at the “Feed My Sheep Kitchen” in between classes on Dec. 18, 2018. The soup kitchen is a long life dream of Melva Johnson, a Seventh-day Adventist, who has been cooking for the children on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week since 2016. Photo by Omar de la Fuente Jr.

Robinson has lost count, but she estimates that she has prepared more than 15,000 meals for the young pupils who have visited her “Feed My Sheep Kitchen” spot for lunch during the school year. The schools work with the soup kitchen to identify needy children eligible for the weekly feedings.

Children usually arrive for lunch in shifts for a meal of rice and beans, a vegetable protein before returning to afternoon classes, explained Robinson. The soup kitchen, located at a rented kitchen, also delivers meals to schools that are farther away so the children won’t have to walk too far during their lunch time.

“I love working at the kitchen because it was always a life long dream of mine to help children in need,” said Robinson.

City leaders have praised the work of Robinson and the Seventh-day Adventist Church for running the only soup kitchen by the denomination and one of four in the country.

Melva Robinson pours juice for a one of the dozens of school children who eat at the Feed My Sheep Kitchen that she runs every Tuesday and Thursday in Belize City, Belize. Photo by Omar de la Fuente Jr.

At 67, with two grandchildren, the project became important to Robinson. Although it’s a challenge to keep the soup kitchen going, it has become the most satisfying part of her service to see that the children are being fed meals that they enjoy.

Fellow church members jumped in to help prepare meals, serve, deliver and keep the kitchen running.

The majority of the funding comes from the local churches in the Belize City area, plus a few donations from the private sector. The average expenses each month run to about $600, said Robinson.

Church member volunteer George Joseph donates funds and time to the Feed My Sheep Kitchen every month. “I love the Lord and I love the children that come to the kitchen,” said Joseph. “God expects us to do His work in finishing the Gospel and helping those in need.”

Church member volunteers prepare and look over to make sure children are feed on the days the soup kitchen is open during teh school year. Photo by Omar de la Fuente Jr.

Helping those in need, especially the most vulnerable, is the core mission of the Feed My Sheep Kitchen, said Robinson, and one initiative church members have vowed to continue to fund.

Ellen Borland contributed to this report

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