Richmond man organizes volunteers to feed those in need - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond man organizes volunteers to feed those in need

K.J. Cook created Hashtag Lunchbag RVA, which provides meals and messages of positivity to those in need. (Source: NBC12) K.J. Cook created Hashtag Lunchbag RVA, which provides meals and messages of positivity to those in need. (Source: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is not just a phrase for one Richmond man. It is a lifestyle, and it is one that is helping people throughout our area and showing that small acts of kindness can have a huge impact.

If you know K.J. Cook, you know he steps up when he finds out someone is down.

"If I smile, you smile. The world smiles. The world is a better place," said Cook.

Whether it is the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, or a tragedy in Richmond, he is known to quickly organize a team or an event to show that someone cares.

"We can all love each other and come together and do something for each other to make this life experience that much better for us all," said Cook.

However, for him, help is not only given to the people whose stories make the news.

We met him in Monroe Park in Richmond, where you can find him at least once a month, listening to those stories you usually don't hear, and carrying things like food and snacks.

"Lunch meat, cheese, Little Debbie snacks, a fruit, and bottled water," said Cook.

It is all part of Hashtag Lunchbag RVA. Cook kicked off the program in November of 2015.

"I know what it feels like first-hand not to have things, and just being in a situation now where I can pay it back in a small portion, you know that is the best feeling that I have, the best gift I can give anyone," said Cook.

He has learned quite a few people feel the same way, such as Jazmyn Knight.

"Giving back and helping others is something that I really feel strongly about," said Knight.

Every third Saturday of the month, they, along with dozens of volunteers, made up of children and adults, come together for about two hours to fill 300 to 400 paper bags with food and a little food for thought.

Afterwards, they make their way to the park.

"We give the bags to anyone who is in need. Anyone who just wants a meal. Everyone needs food. Everyone needs shelter. Everyone needs education," said Cook. "This is a small portion of it that we can help with, and if it's just a sandwich, if it's just some positive words to know that you're not alone, I feel like that means so much to a person."

He believes it is the little things that can make a big difference, and he is excited about the impact being made with these little brown lunch bags.

"It's just about paying it forward  and knowing that we're in this experience together," said Cook.

The next Hashtag Lunchbag RVA gathering is Saturday, June 18.

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