There we were, hanging out with our dear friend Oprah one night and Oprah asked if there were any charities in our area that could use some fundraising support and we said that Minnie’s Pantry in Frisco would be the perfect place and that’s how Oprah came to be the guest speaker at April’s charity gala. Okay, not one word of that is true except that Oprah was the keynote speaker, but it was fun to write and even more, fun to imagine!
The truth is, Oprah was inspired by someone at Minnie’s food pantry, Dr. Cheryl “Action” Jackson, who’s been trying to get the media mogul to attend for years. Winfrey said she finally attended because of Jackson’s passion and persistence, according to NBC.
Founded by Dr. Cheryl “Action” Jackson, Minnie’s Food Pantry has literally been rolling out the red carpet for more than 10 years as they provide food for families living in low income, food insecure households. An award-winning non-profit organization and largest food pantry in Collin County, Texas, Minnie’s Food Pantry has provided more than 7 million meals and brought the issue of food insecurity to the forefront on both a local and national level through features on national television shows including, Good Morning America, ELLEN, Steve Harvey TV and The Food Network. Through supplemental food assistance, educational resources and support from the community, Minnie’s Food Pantry has changed the stigma associated with hunger and are further reducing hunger by expanding into schools across the country. Over the years, many corporate sponsors and celebrities have joined Minnie’s Food Pantry in the fight to reduce hunger.
On this night, one of the world’s biggest and most influential stars showed up and before Jackson introduced Winfrey — with a shout of “She is here! She is here! She is here!” — she said that Winfrey and her wisdom had been there at “pivotal moments in my life.” She talked about learning to make Minnie’s Food Pantry work by listening to Oprah and ended up being featured on Oprah’s talk show because of it.
She said Oprah, who thanked the donors for “having fun,” changed her life.
Oprah admired: “Y’all do it big in Texas.” And she marveled: “This is the most fun I had lately.”
Thousands of dollars in donations poured in during the gala. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey donated $100,000 and were the recipients of the Minnie Ewing Legacy Award for their work with the organization and for contributing at least 300,000 meals to the pantry.
Other celebrities at the gala last night included Floyd Mayweather, reality TV producer Mark Burnett and Emmitt Smith.
Minnie’s Food Pantry, named after Jackson’s mother, Minnie Hawthorne-Ewing, has provided more than 7 million meals to people in need to combat food insecurity.
Minnie’s Food Pantry
When you begin to learn about Minnie’s Food Pantry, your learning experience takes you on a journey of that begins with a painful recognition of the dire need for food that is here on our doorstep in our beautiful area. Your journey continues as you explore and you begin to see the time, effort and sheer determination that has made Minnie’s Food Pantry a fighting force to combat that need for food and you end in a deep admiration for everyone who donates their time, resources and in Dr. Jackson’s case, life, to the cause.
Here’s how Minnie’s Food Pantry explains their mission:
Minnie’s Food Pantry was founded by Dr. Cheryl “Action” Jackson to honor her mother, the late Minnie Hawthorne-Ewing D.D. on April 1, 2008. With a mission to provide healthy meals and resources by way of red carpet treatment to those in need, Minnie’s Food Pantry has since distributed over six million meals to families experiencing food-insecurity.
Minnie’s Food Pantry receives no government support and is 100% community funded. Long term underemployment, unemployment and the high cost of food, gas, utilities and rent are forcing more and more people to seek emergency food. According to Forbes, the cost of living is on the rise (3% increase compared to 2016) and government assistance is on the decline. The need for emergency food is unprecedented.
Hunger must continually be addressed and Minnie’s Food Pantry has created a one of a kind red carpet experience for individuals who are affected by hunger and those who are passionate about reducing hunger. The solution is simple. All it takes is great volunteers with a desire to impact the community every time they serve at Minnie’s Food Pantry
Minnie’s Food Pantry is a 501 C-3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.
Minnie’s Food Pantry has brought light to the issue of food insecurity on both a local and national level. We have been featured on: The Food Network’s documentary, Hunger Hits Home, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Talk and The Steve Harvey Show, amongst others. Minnie’s Food Pantry was also featured on The American Bible Challenge where #TeamMinnies won $25,000 to continue the fight against hunger.
When giving is an honor
We McCoys were in attendance at the gala and we were inspired by everyone who was a part of this incredible event. Everything was so well planned and the evening was star-studded, starting with the red-carpet, graced by Dallas elite, including district attorney, Faith Johnson; literary agent, Jan Miller; NFL legend, Emmitt Smith and his wife, Pat; former major league baseball player, Torii Hunter and his wife, Katrina and actress and church leader, Priscilla Shirer, as well as Hollywood heavy hitters including, including Hollywood actress, Brely Evans; boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather; Adrienne Bailon, television host of The Real, gospel recording artist, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard and Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight who hosted the event. Other notables included New York Giants linebacker, Keenan Robinson and his wife, Lauren; megachurch pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen, and John and Aventer Gray. GRAMMY award-winning gospel recording artist, Israel Houghton opened the show with his song, “The Power of One” and GRAMMY award winning gospel recording artists, Donnie McClurkin, sang “Stand” in tribute to Cheryl Jackson’s late mother, Minnie Hawthorne-Ewing, the namesake for Minnie’s Food Pantry. Pastor John Gray gave the invocation and Floyd Mayweather greeted the crowd with a welcome, pledging to support Minnie’s Food Pantry now and in the years to come.
Joel and Victoria Osteen, pastors of Lakewood Church, presented the Minnie Ewing Legacy Award to Emmy nominated actress, author and President of LightWorkers Media, Roma Downey and award-winning television and film producer Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television Group and Digital. The legacy award identifies, supports and celebrates individuals who have demonstrated “the heart of a giver” in the same way that Minnie Ewing lived her life. It acknowledges individuals who have exhibited outstanding leadership and contributed at least 300,000 meals to Minnie’s Food Pantry.
The highlight of the night was Oprah Winfrey, who inspired the audience as she described her life growing up in Mississippi, her grandmother’s influence on her life and how she lives her life with intention. “True freedom is waking up in the morning and deciding what you want to do with your life. That is what I wish for each of you,” Winfrey shared.
Following her remarks, Oprah Winfrey announced a donation of $250,000, then charged the room to match her gift. Not only did the attendees rise to the occasion, but they exceeded even Winfrey’s expectations, raising more than $1.3 million dollars in an impromptu fundraising fashion of coming to the stage and sharing their name and donation pledge. Rob and Melissa Wechsler donated $250,000 and Peter and TatianaConcro, the founder of Jersey Mike’s Subs, was a $100,000 gala sponsor and also committed to an additional $100,000 annually for the next 5 years. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey donated $100,000 and Bill and Vicki Adkins contributed $25,000 to the event sponsorship and donated an additional $50,000. Event co-chairs, Torii and KatrinaHunter donated $50,000. In addition to the monetary donations, former WNBA star, Fran Harris, who owns Harris Real Estate Partners, pledged to acquire and restore the childhood home of Minnie Hawthorne-Ewing, Cheryl’s mother and donate it to Minnie’s Food Pantry.
The night was filled with surprises for the guests from the start, including a goody bag where each attendee received a sub from Jersey Mike’s, a commemorative candle from Brighton the Occasion and K. Rashae, a special 10-year anniversary bottle of Dr. Pepper and a smartwatch from Fossil, valued at more than $275.
Albertson’s/Tom Thumb, Fossil, Toyota, Rembert Custom Builders, Jersey Mike’s and a host of other companies, joined forces with Minnie’s Food Pantry to support the 10th Annual Feed Just One Gala. Albertson’s/Tom Thumb was the title sponsor and Fossil Group was the premier sponsor for the celebration gala. Toyota was the presenting sponsor of the Minnie Ewing Legacy Award. Other sponsors for the 10th Annual Feed Just One Gala included Jersey Mike’s Subs, HEB Central Market, IBB Design, K’ Rashae, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Dr Venus Opal Reese, Sandy Nachman, GXA Network Solutions, Vicki and Bill Adkins, O’Neil Wysocki P.C., Flexpress Digital, At Home, Rent-A-Center, Wells Fargo, McAfee, Legacy Texas, US Trust, Merrill Lynch, Cynthia Bertrand, Willowbend, Neiman Marcus, Radio One and Plano Profile.
Everyone who was in attendance at this ‘secret location’ gala gave and gave. There was even a preschool teacher who gave $1000 of her own money to help. Her gift was especially inspiring since we all know how little teachers make. That’s the power of Miss Oprah and you could feel it throughout the room.
Not only were donations being given, but at this gala, you were honored to be invited to join in the giving.
All well that ends well
The electricity that charged the night with the anticipation of Oprah’s arrival onstage, to her actual arrival and throughout the whole night never waivered. It filled the air and remained sparked as we all enjoyed coming together for a charity with a mission to provide healthy meals and resources while serving its clients with dignity and
honor by providing red carpet treatment to those in need. Since its inception, Minnie’s Food Pantry has since distributed over 7.3 million meals to families experiencing food-insecurity. Minnie’s Food Pantry receives no government support and is 100% community funded.
What a legacy Miss Minnie has left behind her and in her daughter is a woman who carries her vision and her dream of one day ending hunger in America as we know it today.
It took almost 10 tries to get Winfrey to speak at the gala. She said, “I had no intention of saying yes” but Jackson “earned it” through persistence and strength. Winfrey said she came this time because “that’s somebody worth lifting up.”
At the end of the night, Winfrey had changed her life — and that of her nonprofit — again.
We wish Dr. Jackson continued success in her mission and we thank her for including us in on an absolutely incredible night.
Credits and thanks to: https://www.guidelive.com/pop-culture/2018/04/04/oprah-winfrey-inspires-crowd-minnies-food-pantry-annual-gala-give-give