Extraordinary woman in Wilmington cooks and serves meals to unhoused people

Missy Joyner works at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center, but finds her true passions on the streets of downtown Wilmington, NC

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — On any given Thursday, you’ll find Missy Joyner in her family’s kitchen, packing up freshly prepared, steaming hot meals.  But the food doesn’t go to friends or family.

She says she has a calling to take her meals to the streets of downtown Wilmington, NC, where she personally serves her home-cooked food to people who don’t have a place to live.

She’s been doing it for several years and has regular customers who depend on her each week for a mid-day meal.

“They’re really good people,” she explained.  “They’re not bad people, they’re just in a bad situation.”

Missy has worked at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center for nearly 40 years, but has found her passion in feeding people, and not just their hungry stomachs.  She also wants to feed their souls through her Feet on the Street Outreach Ministry.

“I’m cooking up hope,” she said, “and I’m taking it out to the streets and delivering it to the people.”

She started her mission by tithing into her ministry and using her personal savings.  She put out the word on social media, and friends and family members started helping her, donating time, talent and treasure.

She has a core group of four who actually feed people on the street, but she says she can use more help and expand the service.

“I’m very open to other volunteers but I’m a little picky about that,” she clarified. “You’ve got to have people who have a heart for people.”

And Missy certainly does, empathizing on a very personal level.

“When I go out there, I’m telling you, I literally feel the pain of the people,” she said, fighting back tears. “I’ve been depressed before, I’ve been hopeless before, I’ve even been homeless before.”

Her childhood friend Shinita Taylor saw Missy’s post on Facebook and rallied to help her. She now packs snack bags and gives then to the people she helps feed outside the New Hanover County public library in downtown Wilmington.

“I feel that if anybody has a heart to give, they should reach out to her, and you will be blessed as well as the people that you bless.”

Missy goes beyond feeding people.  She also collects blankets and donations of warm clothing to distribute with her meals.  And she even found housing for Demisa Miller, a woman who ended up sleeping on the streets after moving here last summer from Texas.

“She’s very loving and she’s a sweetheart to everybody,” Miller said, tearing up. “She doesn’t look at you in no other way; she has a very sweet spirit. I love that lady.  I love her.”

Missy hopes to expand her ministry to include a safe space for people to come off the streets and shower, wash laundry and store their belongings.

If you’d like to help support her Feet on the Street Outreach Ministry, or make a donation, visit here .




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