“The last two years we took out teenagers to help, too,” said Hicks. “We give them the food and they give it to somebody. They are so excited and they get a chance to see that they don’t have it so bad.”
Hicks and her crew will repeat their efforts this Saturday. Her goal: to feed 150 people. They meet at the church and form an assembly line of people and dishes. They pack the meals into Hick’s husband’s truck and head out in a caravan.
Stephanie Crosby was with Hicks that very first Thanksgiving giveaway. “If you do it once, you just feel it,” said Crosby. “We feed people who won’t go to places for food. They look scary and spooky but I say, “There but for the grace of God.’ They are sleeping in their own urine, thinking no one cares. Those are the kind of people Myra reaches out to.”
Darla Davenport-Powell, another member of Hick’s volunteer team, met Hicks in 2006 and they quickly became best friends. “She is selfless, selfless , selfless,” Davenport-Powell said of her friend, who holds other events throughout the year for people in need, offering free haircuts, medical care, clothes and food.
“Myra doesn’t have a lot of money. She has the faith it will come,” her friend said. “What I love most about Myra’s heart is that every day is Thanksgiving. Everyday she lends herself to helping.”
Already, Hicks has created a legacy. Her daughter, Amber Belser, is following in her footsteps, feeding people in her hometown of Sacramento. Hicks and her husband moved to Sacramento recently, too, and so of course, Hicks helps feed the homeless there.
Last Father’s Day, Belser held a barbecue for homeless people and even on her birthday , in lieu of a party, Belser fed 100 people with a community barbecue. Her sons, Hick’s grandchildren, have also joined the family business of giving.
“My older son (12) passes out forks and napkins and people laugh and play football with my two-year-old. It teaches the kids they can get along with everyone,” she said.
There is this too: Hicks had a sister who was homeless and living on the streets of San Francisco. Hicks tried to get her sister to leave the streets and come back home, but she wouldn’t. She told Hicks, “I’m already home.” And when she got sick, the people who were her friends–beggars and homeless people–looked after her, as she had looked after them.
Her sister ended up getting killed in her neighborhood but not before she influenced what Hicks’s personal ministry would be in the future.
Said Hicks, “We may think of someone as a bum, but I never forget that they are somebody’s family member.”