- Faith & Family
Memorials often ask for friends and loved ones of the deceased to gather together to simply remember the person — often in song and heart-wrenching eulogies.
However, the friends, family members and loved ones of the late Bruce O. Graves — a Liberty City caterer and bus employee — have decided to take action instead.
For the second year in a row, those who knew and loved Graves will volunteer to feed the poor at Miami Rescue Mission’s downtown Miami campus on Saturday, October 2.
Graves’ family has partnered with the Rescue Mission for their “No is Homeless Campaign” — an annual campaign intended to increase awareness about the issues of homelessness.
The family decided to hold the event again “because we had a good outcome the last time and it just seems like so many people are interested in keeping Bruce’s memory alive,” said Quesha Swain, one of the event’s organizers and a god-sister of Graves.
Last year, an estimated 70 volunteers participated at the event held at the Miami Rescue Mission. Feeding the homeless has particular relevance because of Graves’ commitment to charity work. Before his death in October 2009 due to a motorcycle accident, the 38-year-old made his presence known throughout South Florida.
While he could often be seen driving his route for Miami-Dade Transit or managing his business, Best Choice Catering, many people remember the single father because of his commitment to those who were less fortunate. Graves would volunteer at places like the Homeless Assistance Center (HAC) or even give food to any destitute person he happened to meet walking the streets.
“He always had a heart of gold and you didn’t necessarily have to be homeless for him to help you,” Swain, 37, said. “He just had to know that there was a need.”
According to Bruce’s father, Rev. John Graves, his son probably inherited his passion for feeding the homeless because “his grandmother just loved to feed people and [our family] would just love to go feed the homeless.”
The 70-year-old pastor, whose church, the Salem Baptist Church in Liberty City, supports a feeding ministry, believes helping the homeless benefits not only the less fortunate but the ones who are serving them as well.
“When we go out to feed the homeless, everybody feels happy,” he said. “It makes them feel good that they can contribute back to the homeless.”
While the event is a way to memorialize Bruce, the activities are open to the public and anyone is welcome to come participate, Swain added.
In addition to the volunteering activities, participants may attend a community prayer session on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. and a worship service on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m.
By Kaila Heard