Soul Food for the Soul – And Giving Back to the Community

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Slim Smith

Shirley Coleman peeks out the window of the food truck she has operated for more than two decades – Abigail Sipe Rochester – Dispatch Staff

Shirley Coleman has been dedicating nearly half of her life to serving up great soul food for the good folks of Columbus, frequently parking her food truck in the Gateway Shopping Center in East Columbus (generally 11 to 6 Wed~Sat). Having learned to cook at a young age, she worked other jobs and eventually sold candy in order to raise the money to start her own business. She began running the food truck full-time in 2003 after the clothing factory where she had been working shut down.

More recently, she has felt the calling to also give back to the community in other ways, by giving good, hot meals to those in need on a regular basis. This year has been the best ever in that regard, as she has given out four thousand free meals; she sets out on Mondays to provide this service. Recently, the Columbus Housing Authority has granted her permission to set up her truck in their parking lot. “It hasn’t been easy, but the Lord was with me,” Coleman said. “The Lord put it on my heart to go out in the community and feed the poor,” she said. “At first, I did it on my own, driving around the neighborhoods and feeding children who would come by. I loved it. I thought, ‘This is one day that I know these children aren’t going to bed hungry.’” She even delivers to elderly folks who cannot easily leave their homes.

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