Busta’s Person of the Week: ‘I’m just a nobody trying to tell somebody about God.’

Busta’s Person of the Week: ‘I’m just a nobody trying to tell somebody about God.’
February 15
11:02 2021

By Busta Brown

Try to visualize getting 15 children up for school each morning, making sure their teeth are brushed, faces washed, dressed, fed, books in hand, and then off to school. Then imagine when they return home, each wanting to share what happened in school, they all need a snack, then homework. Now it’s dinner time and you have to prepare and feed 15 children, and then get them all ready for bed. Not to mention teacher’s conferences, sports activities, and entertainment, such as going to the fair, movies, and more. 

Now visualize one mother doing all of this without feeling regret or ever complaining. It’s all done with pure love and grace. 

“We never went hungry, not one day! We were never without nice clothes, hair combed, and love. Busta, we never went a day without breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we always ate together as a family. And you had to be home at a certain time to eat and we were always on time,” said Jeanette Kelley. “With all the kids my mother had to feed every day, she never turned away any of our neighbors that needed a meal, there was always enough food. That showed me that, even when you don’t think you have enough, there’s always enough to share with someone else.”

Seeing her mother’s resilience, Jeanette grew up with an understanding that failure is not an option, and to never allow your neighbor to go without. “I don’t have a lot, but there’s always somebody that don’t have what I have. And I’ve always been around people that’s helped me, so I don’t think twice when I see someone in need. I help them immediately,” she shared. 

Jeanette Kelley is a native of Winston-Salem and a member of First Waughtown Baptist Church. “On Wednesdays we cook food and I travel all across Winston to deliver plates to the seniors, sick and shut-ins. I also belong to the Easton Neighborhood Association. We make hygiene bags and then we take them to many people in the Easton neighborhood. I’m also working with The Shared Kitchen in The Enterprise Center. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I pick up plates and deliver them to the homeless and seniors. What warms my heart, Busta, is that most of them are waiting on me to come. The smiles on their faces truly make my day, and I can see that they really enjoy the food. It lets me know that all of the work we do is needed and worth it,” said Jeanette. 

Jeanette doesn’t mind going above and beyond to help those in need. One day she went to deliver one of those delicious plates, but the gentleman wasn’t home. So, she went searching for him because she knew how much he counted on her to bring his dinner. “As I was walking around the neighborhood looking for him, he saw me first. I heard him say hey. I turned around and saw the biggest smile of relief on his face. He said, ‘I knew I wasn’t going to be at home and thought I would miss you, but you found me.’ Then I went and got a bag and put his plate inside and gave it to him. Whenever they’re not home, I’ll go back later that day or early evening to make sure they get their plates and to make sure they’re OK,” said Jeanette. 

It’s extremely tough for me to write these stories without tears of joy flowing from my eyes onto my computer keys. I’m surprised it still works. I love meeting the Jeanette Kelleys of the world. They put the spirit of hope back into the hopeless. 

Jeanette’s spirit is so warm and welcoming, anyone who crosses her path can feel her love for service and giving. It creates a beautiful and smooth transition for her to turn strangers into family. “One day I was passing by the bus stop on Thomasville Road, near that closure. I saw two homeless men and started talking to them. They were hungry, so I went to my car to get them plates. After that day, I make sure I find them each week to make sure they get a plate. One of the guys said that they live in the woods. I was like, the woods! So, I mentioned it to a few people and now we’re working on finding them shelter,” said Jeanette.

Jeanette is also on the Easton Task Force and she’s a perfect fit, because she’s well respected in the neighborhood. Even the neighborhood youth love and respect their sweet community activist. “We’re trying to get speed bumps on the streets because so many people speed in the area and kids are outside playing. It can be dangerous. One day I saw some young men speeding in the area where some kids were playing and I stopped them. I asked them to slow down, be careful and show some respect for these little kids and elderly. They smiled and said, ‘Yes ma’am.’ Then they drove off slowly. I never come at anyone with disrespect; I’m very kind and considerate to everyone’s feelings. Although someone may be doing wrong, you don’t know their story, so when you approach them with kindness, you get positive results,” said Jeanette. 

In 2019, she and her son Shawn became volunteers with Second Harvest Food Bank. Three days a week, the two travel between Winston-Salem and High Point for the Food Bank. “Shawn now volunteers two days a week with his brother’s truck. They bring back all they can carry. We bag or box meats, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, cheese, eggs and milk, etc. for seniors and families. Most of these people can’t afford to buy fresh vegetables and fruits at the grocery store. The people we help are so appreciative and thankful,” said Jeanette.

“God has truly blessed us as we bless others. I’m just a nobody trying to tell somebody about God.” 

My phenomenal Person of the Week is Jeanette Kelley. 

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