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State Honoree

Lakeshia Wallace

District Of Columbia

initiated a project to deliver home-cooked meals to the homeless in her community during the cold fall and winter months. Lakeshia, president of her local Boys and Girls Club’s “Torch Club,” brought the idea of serving the homeless to her fellow club members in the fall of 1998. The project’s name, “Project GRATE,” comes from the fact that many homeless people sit on subway grates to keep warm. “Poor people who don’t have homes are seldom invited to home-cooked meals,” said Lakeshia. “So, I decided we should take the meals to them.” She developed the idea, recruited helpers, and oversaw the project’s implementation. Lakeshia and her band of volunteers worked with members of a local church, who helped prepare and package the meals. The group then woke up early every other Saturday morning for six months to deliver fresh, nutritious breakfasts directly to homeless people who would have otherwise gone hungry. “It is a very moving experience to feel needed and to be able to help,” said Lakeshia.