Veterans, homeless given food, toiletries on Fourth of July

Feeding the Veterans and the Homeless, a charity founded by Michael C. Jones, did just that on the Fourth of July, donating food and toiletries to more than 300 of those in need.

Jones, in addition to being a minister, spent six years in the Navy.

"Well 35 years ago, I was at Belle Isle Park, and there was a veteran crawling to get something to eat," he said. "He was in bad shape. There were flies on his sores, and I saw the commotion and I went to see what was wrong, and they was tellin' him to shoo, like he was nothin'.  They didn't want to feed him, all he wanted was something to eat. … I got him fed."

That’s how the charity started. 

"But anyway, on the way home that evening, the Lord moved my heart and said 'Michael, I don't never want to see a veteran hungry on the Fourth of July," Jones said. "And so 35 years to the day, this is it."

Jones said the charity started in his car, with just $20, and has grown to be able to help hundreds at a time. 

"Beef, polish sausage, chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers," Jones said that was the menu today. "My wife cooked 25 pounds of potato salad. She made 10 cakes, four things, big pans of baked beans and her sister made four cakes and some chocolate brownies and stuff. And so other stuff, other people brought. and we buy the pop and chips and stuff like that."

Tarence Wheeler is the Founder and CEO of the Tarence Wheeler Foundation, and a volunteer with Feeding the Veterans and the Homeless. A native of Detroit and former all-state basketball player, Wheeler played college hoops for the Arizona State Sun Devils before returning to Detroit as a community activist.

"So I met Mike about four months ago, uh the synergy was just good, and I loved what he was doin' in the community," Wheeler said. "We wanted to partner with him to provide some resources.. So we bought some t-shirts out here, some socks, toiletries, adult wipes, because folks are in transition. Some are homeless, some are in shelters, some just need a helpin' hand." 

"But more importantly … this is a judge-free zone. At the end of the day it's about gettin' it done for people who are in need."