Kelly O’s is one of those diners… with a line out the door… with a six egg omelett (the menu describes it as a SH*T ton of eggs). It smells of hash browns and hamburgers. The staff feels like family… and when they say ‘hello, how are you’ they mean it.
Inside Kelly O’s Diner in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood.
Then there’s Kelly OConner. Get it? Kelly O? She’s the owner. She hugs most of her customers. She drops F-bombs with aplomb. I love her. Gritty and compassionate. She knows what it’s like to go hungry. Most single moms do. If you’re hungry she feeds you.
If it’s Thanksgiving Day, Kelly O really feeds you. This year she had big plans… feed over 100 families. Except no one wanted the hot turkey dinners Kelly was preparing to give away. Confounded… Kelly reached out to Sparkt. “I called every shelter Marty. I told them we had the free meals for Thanksgiving. They said they didn’t have enough homeless people to give them too. I really need you to get the word out for us.” Turns out the homeless sometimes don’t go to the shelters for Thanksgiving. Some shelters already had their holiday meal plans in place.
Still we knew, there had to be plenty of hungry people who would love a free turkey dinner. One in seven families in this country is described as food insecure, which means they don’t have access to a reliable source of affordable, healthy food. The problem was, how could we find these people?
The staff at Kelly O’s Diner is ready to cook up those turkey dinners!
Turns out it was simple really. Here at Sparkt we count on people who make a difference… once again they did. We took to the airwaves. Kelly Os daughter Seana (that’s her, left, with Kelly and me at the top of the story) laid out the story on my KDKA-Radio talk show. Within minutes of her interview, phone lines at the diner blew up. Churches… charities… citizens called in. Everyone wanted to help. All of them knew of families who would covet the Thanksgiving meals.
“It brought tears to my eyes. This is our Thanksgiving dream!”
Turns out there were people who wanted a delicious turkey dinner prepared by the Kelly O’s family. Turns out there’s a lot of need. Here at Sparkt we just had to hook up the folks who wanted to give with the folks who needed to receive.
Even though someone already took care of distributing the first 100 meals, Kelly O’s would love to prepare 100 more. All they need are people to help cover the cost.
to find out how to join in.
It was writer Robert Ingersoll who said “we rise by lifting others.” At Sparkt… we try to make certain we lift others up every day. It feels really good. Why not join us? If it’s not obvious who needs that “lift,” look closer. And then just do it.