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. Koech had a rare form of cancer and St. John’s Hospital took his case. 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 became involved with Koech and his Uncle Peter who had traveled with him to St. Louis. Koech was under an intense treatment plan and his very sick body began to respond to the care. He celebrated his 17th birthday at St. John’s Hospital. Upon the end of his care, Koech came to live with Jacki and Tracey. They fell in love with his sweet smile and wonderful sense of humor. Koech loved to watch television, listen to his new iPod and play video games. 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 stories about his family in Africa.
Upon the conclusion of Koech’s treatment, Jacki and Tracey joined a team with Get The Word Out 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 this orphanage. God laid on her heart to FEED MY PEEPS while traveling in Kenya. She had no idea where this would lead.
James Koech Lowakapel passed away at the age of 18 years in Kenya a few week after the team returned to St. Louis. Koech did not have 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 had made a difference with everyone he encountered.
God began to do work in Jacki’s heart. She knew that every chef has a pan or two of surplus and food waste is endemic in the United States. She listened to the stirring of her spirit and decided to retire and serve those in need. She was called to direct this ministry called FEED MY PEEPS with a mission of Loving God, Moving Food and Feeding People. Jacki has a strong culinary background and the chef of St. Louis embraced this effort which began in the fall of 2012.
James Koech Lokwakpel is the hero and inspiration of our little ministry. Koech inspires us to use the resources we have to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in this world. His life mattered!