LB service organization celebrates ninth anniversary, having served hot meals to 8,000-plus local residents

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Cory Bilicko/Signal Tribune<br></strong> Pictured here with her husband Benny and Long Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Ted Morton, Alice Robinson was honored last Wednesday for the ninth anniversary of the food-distribution program she started to help feed the needy. </strong>

Cory Bilicko/Signal Tribune
Pictured here with her husband Benny and Long Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Ted Morton, Alice Robinson was honored last Wednesday for the ninth anniversary of the food-distribution program she started to help feed the needy.

Ariana Gastelum
Editorial Intern

Friends of Alice Robinson (FOAR), a lunch program that serves free, hot meals on the first Wednesday of every month and whose namesake is the local volunteer who initiated the food distribution, celebrated its ninth anniversary on Aug.1 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. Representatives of groups such as the Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine and the Long Beach Police Department joined 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews and Long Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Ted Morton in recognizing the achievements of Robinson’s program. At the ceremony, they awarded certificates to volunteers and a trophy to Robinson.
Since 2003, Robinson and her two daughters, Rosie Cade and Vanessa Coneer, have prepared the meals for the community. Past main courses have included fried chicken, ribs, sausage and turkey. They’ve also served desserts like cupcakes, pudding, Jell-o and peach cobbler. FOAR uses a number of volunteers, including Robinson’s husband Benny and her son.
PG Herman has volunteered with Robinson. “I met Alice Robinson during the summer of 2006 when I was a member of the Long Beach Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP),” Herman said. “As I’ve always wanted to help feed those who are most in need of nutrition, I began volunteering with her team at that time. In 2010, I encouraged Ms. Alice as well as her friends and fellow volunteers Juanita Wilson and Tom Flores to join the NLP and acted on their behalf as their mentor. I saw Alice evolve tremendously as she gained more confidence and leadership skills, and I was happy to assist her when she was ready to start her own feeding program… I must mention that this dedicated trio are always there to help in any event that I participate in, and for that I am grateful. Alice has a heart of gold, and it’s a honor and pleasure to be her friend.”
Donations come from Robinson’s church, Prevailing and Christ Ministry, and from her brother-in-law Sam Hill, who contributes every three months. The rest comes out of Robinson’s own pocket.
According to Flores, who handles the registration of those who attend, around 80 people attend each event. Over eight years, 7,225 people have attended. Last year, there were 890.
In addition to this program, Robinson still volunteers in neighborhood clean-ups, which she has been doing about 15 years.
When asked how long she plans to continue FOAR, Robinson answered, “As long as my health holds up, and I’m able to volunteer.”