Non-profit aimed at feeding food insecure in Liberal expands

The Fifteen Percent is looking for a refrigerated truck to fulfill need

LIBERAL, Mo. – What started out as feeding a couple kids in her kitchen has quickly grown. Fast forward two and a half years later, and Kathy Miller’s mission of feeding the hungry is a full blown assembly line of neighbors feeding neighbors.

“It’s wonderful because I work very long hours and most of the time I’m too tired to cook, so you guys have helped out a lot,” said Crystal Bethel, one food recipient.

Each week, Miller dedicates three days to serving up free hot meals for the community. Volunteers help pack and deliver.  For Kendra, who fought cancer, and her daughter, Brooke Bearden, who suffered a stroke, giving back in this way is important.

“We knew how much it helped when I got done with the treatment, or she was going through therapy and just the long days, how much that warm meal meant to us, you know somebody bringing it to us. That was the main reason why we thought this is where we need to be, this is what we need to do, is minister with food,” said Kendra Buzzard, one volunteer.

“It just makes me feel good, you know to be able to help somebody else,” expressed Valtazar Macias, another volunteer.

Miller is feeding around 90 people right now, though she’s served well over a hundred before. The pandemic is making the need more apparent as people struggle to put food on the table. Miller added produce boxes onto her list of giving, expanding to Mindenmines.

“We just drove down Main Street with some boxes to see what’s going on over here and boy, were we surprised, we’re needed. We’re needed there,” said Miller.

Ozark Food Harvest in Springfield is willing to help with food donations, but in order to get it, she needs refrigerated transportation. Miller thought she’d found the solution with a truck she picked up in Illinois, but the back of the door is just too small for what she needs.

“When we got home, we took it to the shop to find out about getting that new door cut…$5000 to $6000 that we just don’t have,” said Miller.

Now Miller is selling this truck, hoping to find something that works better for their needs. In the meantime, any donations or leads on something new are welcome.

“That means the world to me. When somebody has something extra in this community and wants to give it to us because they know that we will be good stewards of that and will use that to feed people in their community,” said Miller.

Miller is expanding her building, hoping to add  on a spcae for more storage as The Fifteen Percent grows. She added that she has about a $6,000 budget for either a refrigerated trailer or truck.

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