Iona Burrito Ministry feeds the homeless, while building community and relationships

Community Changers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Being homeless, you don’t know when you will have your next meal. Homelessness has many causes like loss of income, drug addiction and mental illness. Whatever the cause, it won’t stop Iona Burrito Ministry from helping. 

“We really do hear, ‘this is all I’ve had for two days.’ I mean, you would think, no that can’t be possible, but it really is,” said Barry Anderson, coordinator of Iona Burrito Ministry.  

“We just don’t judge what happens that brings a person here. This is a human being created in the image of God. Treat them that way,” he added.  

Anderson gathers with his group of faithful volunteers every Tuesday night inside the kitchen of Memphis First United Methodist Church. They bag cookies and make an assembly line with all the ingredients needed for making more than 100 burritos. 

 WREG’s Corie Ventura joined one volunteer named Timothy at the ground beef station.  

“I want to support the homeless. I want to give back,” he said when asked why he helps.  

In an alley tucked between two buildings in downtown, you’ll find colorful picnic tables and a line of homeless men, woman and sometimes children thankful to receive their next meal from someone who cares.  In each bag they’ll find two burritos, two Oreo cookies, a bottle of water and a banana.  

“What do we do right now? There is a hungry guy, you feed him. Guy doesn’t have a coat, shivering, you give him a coat. Guy is going to spend the night in the streets, let’s give him a sleeping bag. What happens today is what we address,” said Anderson.  

The organization also has a clothes closet filled with shirts, pants, socks, underwear, sleeping bags and shoes. It’s all donated.  

The hard work of these volunteers is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Iona Burrito Ministry a check for $1,000, because when you gather around food, a sense of community is born no matter of your circumstances.  

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