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Pay It Forward: Davenport woman feeds 200+ meals daily to homeless, community

Yolanda Jefferson comes out of her own pocket to make sure others are fed. She prepares meals and hands each one out to homeless on the streets.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A Davenport woman pays out of her own pocket to make sure others are fed.

Yolanda Jefferson owns a community kitchen and has been feeding residents from the surrounding area for more than 20 years.

"I love food," Jefferson said.

Jefferson's work is part of what she calls the Chefy Bear on Wheels Community Project.

"If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be able to eat half the time," one community member said.

She prepares hot meals as her doors stay open to serve. 

"Financially with food, she has helped me so much," one person said.

"She goes above and beyond," Pay It Forward-nominator Heather Tucker said.

Jefferson also provides household essentials in her building, including diapers.

"Bringing people together to love on one another with food," Jefferson said.

She spends every day trying to help others.

"She goes around and delivers food," one resident said.

Jefferson serves the homeless out on the streets 5 days a week.

"You just know that at that time they are hungry," Jefferson said.

The meals also go to shelters, including Humility of Mary and Humility Homes and Services.

"What can you say to a person who does it all?" a community member said.

"Thank you so much for nominating Yolanda for the pay it forward," Travis Kershaw with Ascentra Credit Union said to Tucker. "The love that she shows her community is truly indicative of listening, caring and doing-what's-right spirit we believe in at Ascentra Credit Union. That's why we are so happy to give (WQAD News 8) $300 so that (it) can pay it forward to her."

Jefferson puts others before herself as she's always cooking a new meal.

"You don't have to get a name, number, address or anything," Jefferson said. "Show up and get what you need"

Jefferson's kitchen is at 1314 Washington St. near Riverview Terrace Park in Davenport.

A lot of the contributions Jefferson provides come from donations. To send monetary donations to Jefferson, you can use Cash App - chefybear - and Venmo - culinarydiva.

If you know someone you'd like to nominate for the Pay It Forward Award, click here.

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