Angels and sparrows

Angels and Sparrows Executive Director Jessika Tucker, left, with the organization's founder, Sandy Tilley.

1. A fundraiser for the soup kitchen is May 17

The Gather & Give gala, to be held Friday, May 17, at Sweet Magnolia Estates in Cornelius, is a fundraising event for the Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitche, an agency that provides meals for those in need in north Mecklenburg. The third annual Gather & Give gala will feature food, music and other activities starting at 6:30 p.m., with all proceeds going directly to support the Angels and Sparrows hot lunch programs for families and the organization’s Summer Bag Lunch program for at-risk youth. Tickets and information are available at angelsandsparrows.org.

2. It’s provided 6,900 meals per month

Jessika Tucker, executive director of Angels and Sparrows, said the soup kitchen, at 514 N. Old Statesville Road, helped prepare 9,000 bag lunches for young people last summer as part of Summer Bag Lunch. Only 20 percent of the children who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school receive a free lunch over the summer months. “Despite the affluence in our area, 18.2 percent of children in Mecklenburg County are food insecure.” Tucker said. “We exist so people in our community don’t have to decide between food and other life necessities such as rent, transportation or medical care.”

3. Lunch is provided every weekday

Angels and Sparrows serves a hot meal to anyone in need each from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. It also has an emergency food pantry for guests of the kitchen. “When you support Angels and Sparrows, you are making sure people right here in your community are not going hungry,” Tucker said. “They are people you wouldn’t suspect – your neighbors, co-workers or classmates.”

4. Sandy Tilly was the founder

Tilly established Angels & Sparrows in 2007, serving as executive director until last October. On starting the organization, “I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I had to do it. I didn’t know how, but I knew it would happen,” she said close to her retirement. Tucker volunteered for five years with Tilley prior to her promotion, and the founder now serves as executive director emeritus.

5. There is a 5K on Thanksgiving

Another marker of success is Angels & Sparrows’ annual 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It started with only 50 runners and six years later has grown to 1,000 with numerous sponsors. Donations received have a direct impact on neighbors in need, thanks to the leadership of Tucker and the many volunteers who lend a hand on a daily basis. 

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