Huddle Touch food drive reaches hundreds in Tallahassee

Members of the FAMU 100 Black Men affiliate help load a pick-up truck during last Saturday’s food giveaway.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine

Outlook staff writer

Through the Huddle Touch “message and a meal” program, Jeffery Singletary was already aware of the impact of the organization’s work.

He just wasn’t aware of how vital the feeding aspect was to the school-age student-athletes who were benefitting. The importance of what Huddle Touch was doing hit home when Singletary was asked by a coach to provide food for his student-athletes twice instead of just on game nights.

The coach made his point by inviting Singletary into his locker room, w

Jeffery Singletary

here the students were asked if the lunch they had at school was their last meal each day.

“About 80 percent of those kids raised their hands,” said Singletary. “It blew me away.”

Huddle Touch is still feeding – not just student athletes but communities around the country and the Caribbean. This past Saturday, Huddle Touch worked in conjunction with Bethel Missionary Baptist Church to give away 200 boxes of food.

Two huge trucks with boxes of food were parked in the lot adjacent to Bethel on Martin Luther King Boulevard last Saturday. FAMU men’s basketball team and coach Robert McCullum along with a group of young men from the 100 Black Men joined Bethel church members in distributing the food. 

Near the end of the distribution several pick-up trucks hauled off boxes of food, including milk to be distributed at other churches. The food included vegetables and meats.

“In these times of great turmoil and economic deprivation, it is our delight to bring joy to the families of this community,” Rev. RB Holmes pastor at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, said in a statement. “It means so much for families to have nutritious meals and not have to worry about the financial hardships so many communities are experiencing during this pandemic.”

The food was packed on the trucks overnight for the trip to Tallahassee from Atlanta. Wholesale distributors donate the food through the USDA Farm to Family Food Box Program, which work in conjunction with a network of faith-based and non-profit organizations.

The idea of bringing free food to Tallahassee stemmed from a conversation that Singletary and McCullum were having about a similar event that Huddle Touch had done a week earlier in Quincy. McCullum sought out Bethel as a venue and Holmes welcomed the idea.

McCullum said his players were willing to participate in the event as part of a community service project to help needy people during the pandemic.

“They trust the fact that I’m not going to put them in a situation that endangers,” McCullum said. “Everyone had on masks and we weren’t standing in one particular spot for more than 15 minutes. We were adhering to the guidelines and protocol that were set up.

“I’m happy that we were able to come out. They (the players) feel good when they do something like this. It’s all worthwhile because the people who were on the receiving end feel good and the players are learning the importance of giving back. That’s a lesson that will serve them well.”

Singletary said he started the work that Huddle Touch 20 years ago. He was inspired by the Chuck Colson and Harold Fickett book, “The Faith Given Once for All,” while he and former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy were taking a group to a Kids Across America sports camp, he said. 

The idea of creating Huddle Touch to reach young people was quickly approved by Central Temple Baptist Church, where he is pastor.

Singletary got plenty of support from Tony Evans, Lee Roy Selmon, before his death. They took the concept of a meal and a message to schools in the Tampa area and USF Bulls men’s basketball team, which McCullum was coaching at the time, was one of the first of many colleges and universities that are affiliated with Huddle Touch.

“Sports is a great avenue to reach young people for Christ,” Singletary said. “We started doing pre-game meals. We came in and we did a 10-to-15-minute message and we provide a full-course meal for these teams. It’s our gift back to our community.”

FAMU men’s basketball players get a send-off talk from Rev. RB Holmes (left) and coach Robert McCullum (second left) near the end of last Saturday’s food giveaway.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

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