Subscribe

The Second Line brings in 2019 with food, hair cuts and hope for 'neighbors'

By Published: January 04, 2019 3:04 PM CT

Carlos Morgan was grateful to open his bag of cold weather items at The Second Line’s New Year’s Day breakfast, but the first item he saw was a pastel fleece pullover.

“Um, that will go to my wife,” he said. “I can tell you right now that a man should never wear a peach anything."

Morgan was one of about 500 people expected to show up for the second year chef/owner Kelly English has opened his Overton Square restaurant for a “Day of Warmth” for the homeless and needy, folks that Pastor Norman Redwing of Good Samaritan Church and Outreach Ministries refers to as “neighbors.”

“We don’t say homeless. We say neighbors, because that’s what the Bible calls them. We are neighbors.”

Three MATA buses delivered people from around town, including Redwing’s church at 550 Poplar. Most came for food, but left with a bag stuffed with donated coats, gloves, socks, blankets and so on. Nurse Rebekah Kain from LeBonheur Memphis Pediatrics was there to provide screenings for children, and eight area hairstylists turned the tented and warmed patio into a makeshift salon.

Nick Seccombe, a hairdresser at Salon 387, organized the event with Baron’s Man Cave.

“Caleb Sigler, who works for Kelly and is a friend, called and asked if I could do this, so I reached out to a bunch of people and they responded,” he said

JoAnn Nicholson came on the bus from Carpenter House, another pickup point, for a hot meal but decided to get her hair cut, too. She’s trying to get a job at Kroger and hopes that when 2020 rolls around, she’ll no longer be homeless. It’s particularly difficult for women, who have far fewer resources than men. While at least two shelters are in the works for women, she said that right now there’s only one long-term shelter for women, run by the YWCA.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was on hand, along with police officers, some who volunteered to work on the holiday so they could help out, and fire and EMS personnel in case they were needed.

“I’m just here to support Kelly and his team for doing this,” Strickland said. “It’s nice to be able to partner with him by providing some services, but this is his deal.”


“What people who run a restaurant do is make people feel special. If someone doesn’t make you feel special for what, a week, then maybe you start to feel bad. Well, with some of these people we’re talking about months and years. We just wanted to do something.”
Kelly English, chef/owner, The Second Line


Volunteers, such as veteran restaurateur Angie Kirkpatrick, ran food from the kitchen to the tables, feeding folks scrambled eggs, bacons, grits and hot biscuits. Coffee was poured freely, and beverage containers along the bar were filled with cartons of milk instead of cocktails.

“What people who run a restaurant do is make people feel special,” English said. “If someone doesn’t make you feel special for what, a week, then maybe you start to feel bad. Well, with some of these people we’re talking about months and years. We just wanted to do something.”

Redwing said the importance of reaching people can’t be overstated.

“I can’t put a number on it, but I can tell you that the situation of our homeless neighbors is unbelievable,” he said. “We see so many people every day.

“I was homeless myself. For many years I was addicted to crack and to alcohol and people tried to help me. Eventually I saw that God was in these kind people and that’s what saved me. When brother Kelly says that he wants to make people feel special, you can take it from me that it can make all the difference in someone’s life.”

Topics

The Second Line Kelly English Pastor Norman Redwing
Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs is a native Memphian and veteran food writer and journalist who covers all things food, dining and spirits related for The Daily Memphian.


Comment On This Story

Section Emails

Sign up to get the latest articles from the Food section.