Compassion in Action: Interview with Xulon Author Jacki Dirksmeyer

Filed in Author Inspirations by on December 21, 2015 1 Comment

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Editor Krystina Murray interviews Xulon author Jacki Dirksmeyer on her faith and the practice of “breaking bread” are impacting her local community.

Feed My Peeps is an organization in St. Louis, Missouri geared toward delivering food from local restaurants, caterers, farmer’s markets, and schools. Founded by Jacki Dirksmeyer in 2012, Feed My Peeps keeps many homeless families and those with limited resources nourished with love and good food. It all started with Dirksmeyer’s trip to Kenya and meeting a cancer-stricken young man, after which she became part of the mission team “Get the Word Out”, where she began feeding people from his village. Now, with Jacki’s thirty years of culinary and hospitality experience, members of the St. Louis community are well fed—both physically and spiritually.

Krystina Murray: Hi Jacki! It’s a pleasure to interact with you. Firstly, I find what you’re doing to be a great example of compassion. Have you always enjoyed volunteering and assisting others in need?

Jacki Dirksmeyer: I have a big heart. Serving is in my core. I used to think I had to rescue everyone. God showed me to open my arms and just be the vessel. God allows me to connect His dots to serve those in need. He’s just that cool.

KM: You have an impressive culinary background. You’ve worked at the Ritz-Carlton, the Holiday Inn and the Marriott. You and have been awarded the Local Food Hero Award at St. Louis University. How old were you when you started cooking? And when did you realize your calling involved the culinary arts?

JD: I started over thirty years ago in the hospitality industry. I believe everyone deserves to be treated special and recognized (I learned this from my years in catering at The Ritz-Carlton). I started serving our homeless friends in a small church basement on china and linen. I asked my chef friends to come and cook nutritional meals so the homeless would feel special.  I’m an okay cook, but a better caterer. You have to measure and follow recipes to cook, which I don’t do. I simply add a dash of love with a pinch of kindness. I would sit on the stool next to my granny as a child and watch as she magically made handmade dumplings. She never measured either! Lots of love added.

KM: That’s very heartwarming. What are some of the challenges (both motivating and daunting) you experience or have experienced in maintaining a non-profit company?

JD: Feed My Peeps is a grassroots charity. We do NOT have a paid staff. We DO have a dedicated team of wonderful volunteers that make up the method to our madness. I used to worry that every volunteer should have a warm and fuzzy experience when serving with us. Well, that was exhausting on my part. I quickly learned God holds our little charity in the palm of His hand and will give out all the warmth. Silly me!

KM: Tells us about a time you felt like giving up, or struggled with doubt. How did you realize God’s presence in your life in this time?

JD: I told God that I was really exhausted a year ago in December. I told him that I was going to get a real J-O-B that paid. God let me throw my pity party, and then He showed up big time. We had a fundraiser concert at our home for Christmas. Our family and friends made a large monetary donation to the ministry. I learned to get “me” out of the way. I thought I had to hold a baby called “Feed My Peeps” tightly. I was blocking the blessings. Everyone could walk Feed My Peeps around the block. I got the God memo!

KM:  What are valuable words of wisdom you’ve learned from those you serve?

JD: It takes a village to serve those in need. We share with like-minded folks who have the same serving hearts. My job is not to judge my neighbor who lives on the street. My job is to show the love of Christ with compassion, simply “one peep at a time.”

KM: Jacki, thank you for taking time to share your story. Anything you want to leave our audience with today?

JD: I never in a million years would think that I could walk away from a culinary career and make a difference. I was obedient to God’s call. He has allowed me to be the vessel creating a ripple effect to building better communities. I cried and complained, but being obedient when God calls is the lesson. Celebrate during the storm. 

You can find out more about Feed My Peeps at the web site www.feedmypeeps.org and access Dirksmeyer’s book, One Peep at A Time, through Xulon Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, highlighting her journey of servitude and compassion of her community. She is also the recipient of the Clay Cooley Toyota Dealership St. Louis Favorite Charity Award, the  and the 2015 St. Louis Rams Community Quarterback Award. If you’d like to help volunteer or donate, log on to the site above to connect to a greater cause.

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About the Author ()

Krystina Murray is a Staff Editor at Xulon Press with over six years of editing experience. When she isn’t helping writers improve their manuscripts, she devotes her time to crafting poetry and short stories, maintains an exciting food blog and completes copy writing advertisements for small businesses.

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  1. avatar Sue Imming says:

    Jacki is my daughter and I am so proud of all her accomplishments. Jacki is the most generous, kind, hard working person I know. She gives her all to help other people who aren’t as privileged as she and her family are. What she is doing with Feed my Peeps really is changing the world, one person at a time. I can not believe how many lives Feed my Peeps have touched and all in a positive way.

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