Pictures of feeding the street people
out of our bus at night
(click photo below)
ARTICLE BELOW ABOUT OUR CHRISTMAS PARTY
Helping the Poor and Homeless...
The Gieson's Annual
Brings Love and Hope to Needy Families
for nearly 30 years.
Photos by Jerry Naunheim Jr.- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ABOVE LEFT: Joan Gieson
(center) hands out new clothes to the needy during
her family's annual holiday feast. Thousands of poor people
attended the event. ABOVE RIGHT: Gieson kisses her husband, Frank.
Excerpt of the December 23,1993 Post-Dispatch Article...
Family's Dinner For 5,000 Needy Takes The Cake
By Lia Nower
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
...Christmas came early for the Gieson family and about 5,000 of their friends. Last Sunday, Joan and Frank Gieson and their two children rounded up volunteers from as far away as Arkansas and served up food and gifts for thousands of needy people who streamed through the Normandy Junior High School cafeteria.
..It was the 25th year for the Gieson Family Christmas celebration, which has grown from inviting a few homeless people over for dinner to planning a feast for a crowd. There was fried chicken, turnip greens, sweet potatoes and dressing and much more cake than anyone realized. "Did I tell you the story about the cake?" asked Joan Gieson, who directed the action like.a traffic cop from her post in the center of the room.
..Gieson said she had only 20 sheet cakes when the group started serving food at about 10 a.m. "That would only feed at the most about 2,000 people," she said. "I knew we were going to run out of dessert." Instead, sheet cake appeared from nowhere - enough to feed more than twice the estimated number of guests. And, as the crowd was winding down, Gieson found that the original 20 sheet cakes were still sitting, untouched, in the kitchen.
..That story might sound amazing to some, but it's pretty routine stuff for Joan Gieson - missionary, caterer, mother of two. This year, the Giesons needed toys to give the youngsters as they left for the day. Enter Terry Bruck, a Berkeley resident who heard about the dinner and decided to donate 350 stuffed animals. He then spent the day serving food while wearing a Santa hat. The Giesons needed religious music to play during dinner. Pastor Bobby Adams from the Reign of Praise Church in St. Clair, Mo., heard about the feast and packed his disc jockey equipment into the car. The Giesons needed cooks to stay up all night to prepare the meal. Ex-chef Mike Circello of Kansas City heard about the dinner and came to help.
..The Giesons needed produce and money to buy chickens. Enter Carol and Charlie Nix, a couple from Little Rock, Ark., who donated thousands of dollars and drove all night to spend the day in the kitchen. "We had been in a religious crusade with Mrs. Gieson, but we didn't really know her," said Carol Nix. "The Lord has blessed us financially, so we wanted to give money to the less fortunate. Charlie said God told him to give the money to Mrs. Gieson." So the Nixes sent a check and drove to St. Louis. For Carol Nix, the experience was everything she'd hoped. "It's fantastic," she said. "I've had so much fun doing this.
The volunteers weren't the only ones who had fun. Valerie Holliday of Richmond Heights heard about the dinner at the Salvation Army. As her son, Jarrell Little, 4, wheeled around the hallway on the bike he got as a gift, his brother Michael, 2, tugged his gift - a purple and pink dinosaur- away from his mother. "This has been real nice," said Holliday, toting her gift of ham, corn meal, flour and fruit. "They've done an excellent job. One day I hope I'm in a position to donate to one of these programs.
..If the Giesons have their way, the Christmas extravaganza will long be a program in need of donations. "When we were little, mom was always bringing street people home," said Mike Gieson, 34. "This whole thing has really grown." Does he plan someday to take over for mom and dad? "I have to think about it," he said. "But, I'm afraid I'd feel too guilty if I said no."
More Pics from the Gieson's Christmas Celebration...
Click on an image below for a full size photo.
Joan and homeless
sharing a moment together
talking about Jesus.
Alan Sherman and
Joan feeding the homeless.
Joan and volunteers
taking calls from
folks in need.
Youth giving of their time and
energy to feed the poor
These kids are wonderful.
Mr. & Mrs. Weatherford
Mounds of Toys
for the children.
© 1998 Joan Gieson Ministries of Love - All Rights Reserved
Joan Gieson Ministries of Love, Inc.
St.Louis Mo. 63145