FEED MY PEEPS was inspired by a young boy from Africa named James Koech Lokwakapel. Here's his story:
James Koech Lokwakapel was known by his family as Koech. He came to the United States for treatment with a group called Get the Word Out directed by Karen Smith from St. Louis, Missouri. Koech had a rare form of cancer. St. John's Hospital took his case pro bono for one year. Jacki and her husband, Tracey Leach, were introduced to Koech at church by a photograph. Koech looked very ill and was on a Wings of Hope plane transporting him from Kenya to St. Louis for treatment. This picture resonated with Jacki's heart.
Jacki and Tracey immediately went to the hospital to visit Koech and his Uncle Peter who had traveled with him to St. Louis. Koech was under an intense treatment plan. His very sick body slowly began to respond to the care as everyone prayed for his miracle. Upon the end of his treatment, Koech came to live with Jacki and Tracey. They fell in love with his sweet smile and funny sense of humor. Koech loved to watch television, listen to his new Ipod and play video games. This was all new to his world. He was open to trying American Cuisine. He would say "not so much" when he didn't care for a dish. Koech shared his dreams of becoming a doctor one day. He also shared about his family in Africa.
Upon the conclusion of Koech's treatment, Jacki and Tracey joined a team with Get the Word Out Ministry to return Koech to his village. Koech's family had an orphanage where they loved and provided for the children who had lost their parents.
Jacki realized that a bag of beans and rice were gold to the orphanage. God laid on her heart on a remote mountain top in Kenya to feed my peeps. She had no idea the magnitude of this call.
James Koech Lowakapel passed away in Kenya at the age of 18 years a few weeks after the team returned to St. Louis. Koech didn't have access to clean water, proper nutrition, good resources and his medicine ran out. Everyone was heartbroken over the passing of Koech; however, Jesus has big arms. Koech made a difference with everyone he encountered.
God began to work in Jacki's heart. She knew that every Chef has a pan or two of surplus at the end of the day. Food wasted is epidemic in the United States. Jacki felt the stirring of her spirit and decided to retire from her culinary career and serve those in need. She founded this ministry called FEED MY PEEPS with a mission of Loving God, Moving Food and Feeding People. Jacki has a seasoned culinary background and the Chefs in St. Louis embraced this effort which began in the fall of 2012.
James Koech Lokwakapel is the hero and inspiration to our little charity that could. Koech inspires us to use the resources we have to make a difference in this world. We call this the ripple effect to building a better world.