An Amarillo man has passed out more than 40,000 thousand meals to the homeless people in Amarillo.
In August 2016, Kip Billups decided he wanted to work with Yellow City Community Outreach to help the needy in our area. Billups said he found out the organization does not help feed people, so he made 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hopped in his car. He said within minutes the food was gone.
“At first I did,” Billups said “The first three months it was me and whatever friend I could grab and force them to make sandwiches.”
Billups said he started getting help from people after a friend, Steven Liless, created the Amarillo Brown Bag Runs Facebook page. He said a lot of people in Amarillo wanted to help, they just did not know how.
Local businesses also started getting involved. They started donating leftover or extra food to Billups. He said Amarillo Diagnostic Center now helps provide about 25% of meals.
Billups makes deliveries everyday, once in the morning and again at lunch time.
“I was hooked,” Billups said “I wanted to, I knew I wanted to feed people at that point. So I’ve been doing it every night since.”
While living in California, Billups said he lived on and off the streets for 10 years and that experience is a big reason why he works so hard here in Amarillo. He said before he was homeless, he never gave these people a second look.
“I call them invisible friends or invisible neighbors,” Billups said. “When I moved back to Amarillo I didn’t really notice how they were there, and then you come out with food and you start treating them like human beings and then all of a sudden they start registering.”
When he was on the streets, Billups said many people would try to preach at him before they would offer any assistance. Billups said that is not necessarily his mission.
“I’m not, I’m not particularly, I’m not religious actually, but I believe in a God or the universe or something like that,” Billups said. “I just put people together that want to feed God’s people.”
Billups said a lot of people come and go but there are several of his friends he sees every day. Some of them camp in the alleyway, while others sleep under the bridge.
“I work the busy area of Amarillo for homeless,” Billups said. “But you just start realizing how scattered people are.”
While at the Guyon Saunders center, Executive Director Vince Hernandez praised Billups for his work in the community.
“You just can’t imagine someone spending as much time helping other people as he does,” Hernandez said. Gosh if we all did that, what a wonderful world it would be?”
If you would like to volunteer to help Billups on a run or donate food, you can find him on Facebook.