When I think of Chandrel Wright-Richardson, I reflect on a quote from my book that states – “No matter how many opportunities or accolades you receive, or whether your beginnings are humbled or privileged, you can never give too much to others in genuine need.
I became acquainted with Chandrel as she serves as the executive director for the Harbert Center which hosts the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham weekly chapter meetings. She greets me and each Kiwanian with a warm smile and ensures that we have a great meeting. Over the last few years, we have fostered a great relationship and I was amazed when I discovered her recent involvement in the community… providing a meal to those in need.
As a child growing up in Birmingham’s Wylam community, Chandrel learned how to take care of others. She watched earnestly as her grandmother took care of their village. There was not a day that Chandrel returned home from school, where she did not see a neighbor in their home being helped by her grandmother.
Those moments were engrained in Chandrel and after leaving work one day, she saw an opportunity to pay it forward. She noticed that her “downtown friends” were searching in dumpsters looking for a meal. This is something that she has never seen within the downtown homeless community but with the rapid changes due to COVID-19, downtown businesses had temporarily closed due, leaving little to no food source for this group.
That is when she immediately jumped into action. She spoke with her brother and mother and together they formed the M.O.M. (Multiplication of Meals) Group. They agreed to prepare 24 meals three times a week and deliver them to their downtown friends.
So, on March 31 as the world was still in a chaotic state due to the pandemic, Chandrel and her family delivered the first meals to this community.
After the experience, Chandrel went to social media, just to post her thoughts which spawned the creation of a 50+ group of community members wanting to get involved. I was impressed to learn that for four months this grassroots organization fed the homeless community weekly and currently distributes monthly. As Chandrel has now taken the organizer role, she creates the menu, goes grocery shopping, coordinates volunteers, manages the donations, and communicates consistently with the Facebook group on how they can be further engaged. To date, this group has served over 800 meals between Linn and Kelly Ingram Parks with the combined efforts of Bonus M.O.M. Group.
The relationship between M.O.M. Group members and the Downtown Friends has been great and continues to grow. Now members are on a first name basis and have created a friendship that will last forever.
It has been a great partnership and continues to grow. This winning moment shows how one person can create a movement. It all starts with one.
To whom much is given, much is required…