With a big smile across his face, Jerry Whisler says the Lord tricked him into starting a ministry two decades ago.

All joking aside, the Blue Springs resident on Saturday got serious in recalling the story of how Feed the People Ministries got its modest beginning in November 1992.

With a big smile across his face, Jerry Whisler says the Lord tricked him into starting a ministry two decades ago.

All joking aside, the Blue Springs resident on Saturday got serious in recalling the story of how Feed the People Ministries got its modest beginning in November 1992.

 Whisler, then a member of Sheffield Family Life Center at 5700 Winner Road in Kansas City, volunteered with Saturday Super Church. That initiative brought children from the housing projects into the church to learn about Jesus, and every Thanksgiving, the volunteers put together a sit-down meal.

But 20 years ago, Whisler had a different idea of putting together a home-cooked meal of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, a cupcake and drink for the children as they got off the bus and went home.

The plan was approved, and volunteers prepared 600 meals “on propane burners, on rickety tables,” Whisler said, upstairs in what is today the Sheffield Family Life Center’s Youth Center but at that time was the church’s sanctuary.

That day, 560 children received meals, and the leftovers were delivered to those living on the streets, using the church van for transportation.

“It’s hard to describe the feeling you have inside,” Whisler said of the experience.

Two weeks later, Whisler asked if he could deliver the home-cooked meals again to those on the streets. Around 125 people were fed on that Christmas Day, and Whisler credits the Army Reserve Center on U.S. 24 in Independence for allowing him to use their hot food insulated containers in the beginning.

By 1999, Feed the People Ministries was established as a 501 (c)(3). Whisler, a full-time painter and carpenter, is both the founder and the president, but he’d rather not receive all the credit.

“I’m the founder,” he said, “but I don’t like saying it like that.”


Jerry Whisler calls himself a born-again Christian.

Growing up in Blue Springs, Whisler, 59, didn’t attend one church regularly. At age 8, he was smoking and drinking regularly.  

By age 26 or 27, Whisler said, he found God.

“I started to think about where everything came from,” Whisler said.

He’s traveled and lived all over the world, thanks to his service in the Army.

These days, Whisler said he wants consistency with Feed the People Ministries in being able to provide hot meals for those in need every Saturday.

“When you reach out in compassionate love to somebody who’s hurting and you see the response of that person and the appreciation that they have, it lets them know that they are not forgotten,” Whisler said.

“Reaching out to hurting lives,” reads the ministry’s motto. Through a hot plate of food, Whisler said, Feed the People aims to remind those in need that regardless of their situation, God still loves and cares for them.

The number of those served varies based on the season, ranging from 475 to 525 people in one Saturday afternoon. The majority are homeless, Whisler said, but some live in rundown apartment buildings, and Feed the People also travels to several high-rise apartments in Kansas City, Kan., where a lot of senior citizens reside.  

A kitchen also was constructed in the Youth Center, and Feed the People receives its food from Harvesters, as well as through community donations.

Additionally, Feed the People provides a meal at Sheffield on the first Sunday of every month for the homeless and those in need throughout the community.

Other churches across the metropolitan area volunteer their time with Feed the People, which on Saturday included First Bible Baptist Church from Blue Springs and Second Missionary Baptist Church out of Grandview.

Kansas City, Kan., resident David Osborne is a board member of Feed the People Ministries and has volunteered with the effort for 13 years. As a member of Sheffield Family Life Center, he became involved after seeing a list of ministries and hearing about Feed the People from a friend who already was a volunteer.

Now, he volunteers every other Saturday as a van driver.

“I knew that’s what God wanted me to do,” Osborne said. “I like doing what God has called me to do. I let others know that God loves them, and he hasn’t forgotten about them.”

Osborne said he is pleased that Whisler heard God’s calling to start a ministry to feed the hungry and the homeless, adding that Whisler is involved and dedicated in making sure Feed the People succeeds.

“Instead of just hearing the call of God,” Osborne said of Whisler,” he puts it into action.”

Whisler has only missed three Saturdays in the past 20 years.

“Are there other things I could do or would like to do and things like that? Yes,” Whisler said. “However, this is what God’s calling has on my life, so I follow that calling.”


Darren Blair of Kansas City described himself on Saturday as “in between a rock and a hard place.” Blair has known Whisler for more than 10 years since the two men used to attend services at Sheffield Family Life Center.

Blair, 51, is now living on a friend’s floor and has been unemployed off and on for a couple of years.

As Feed the People provided meals during the first stop at Margaret Kemp Park on the east side of downtown Kansas City, Blair described himself as a recovering drug and alcohol addict.

“I know he’s always going to be here to get me through a day or two,” Blair said of Whisler and his work through Feed the People Ministries.

As for what Blair would have eaten Saturday if it weren’t for Feed the People, he said: “I didn’t really have an option – today, I was going to be here. It kinda brings a tear to my eye. When you think of being a man, you think you should be able to provide for yourself and others. It’s humbling to have to receive help from someone else.”

For Blair, Feed the People reminds him of the old saying, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”

“That’s exactly what he’s doing,” Blair said of Whisler. “There’s a lot of people who could talk the talk, but on Saturdays, Jerry is actually walking the walk.”