The hosts didn’t know any of their guests Friday at the picnic in Akron’s Grace Park.
Except for the food shopping, everything happened rather spontaneously.
Danny Adams and Faun Ketchum of Cuyahoga Falls, aided by a few family members and friends, said they were motivated to purchase 14 giant packs of hot dogs, buns to go with them, and all the trimmings to give to homeless people and anyone else wandering by who might be hungry.
It didn’t take long for the word to travel and guests to show up.
They were motivated by Faun’s son, James Tate, 20. “He had been wanting to do this for some time,” Ketchum said. “So we decided this was the year we would do it, when we were a little more blessed.”
The family said they haven’t always had it easy, but that when you’re a “little more blessed,” you bless someone else. That’s what Friday was about.
Tate said he remembers coming to the park as a little boy and seeing homeless people gather there, many of them clients at the nearby Haven of Rest Ministries.
“I always said when I was older that I wanted to come and do something for them, to make things better …” he said. “It’s been beautiful and real exciting with everybody saying ‘God bless you!’ ”
Tate said he couldn’t have made his dream of doing something for the homeless come true if he hadn’t had the support of his family and friends.
Cheerful and generous with his time was Anthony Bennett, the Adamses’ son-in-law, who took over grill duty, saying, “We want them to get as many hot dogs as they would like. We’ll stay until all the food is gone.” Also assisting and echoing the same sentiments were niece Diana Mishler and daughter Nedra Tate, who passed out chips and helped with the cleanup.
One of the guests, Kenneth Powell, gave the party his stamp of approval: “I think it’s great what they did. … A lot of people are hungry!”
Family friends Ron Hull and George Shoemaker did ice runs to make sure the water bottles stayed cold.
The good Samaritans — who sought the permission of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department to be there — also passed out clean clothes and blankets they had collected from family and friends.