By KYW community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “I thought, we have to do something — what can we do?”
That’s the question actress Temperance Jaxson asked herself 2½ years ago after seeing a homeless woman sleeping outside her window in center city.
Soon after, Jaxson took a lasagna casserole to a local soup kitchen and tried to give it to a homeless man.
“When I gave it to a young man who was outside who could not get service, he said to me, ‘I can’t eat it,’ ” she recalls. “I said, why not? And he said, because it’s cold.”
Jaxson says she learned an important lesson that day.
“I thought, I wouldn’t want to eat cold lasagna,” she remembers, “so I decided to really commit. I wanted to give with love. So I decided to make homemade meals (and) homemade desserts.”
Now, twice a week, Jaxson — with help from boyfriend Jack Jarmon — pack up dozens of “care” packages that they later distribute to those in need.
“The care packages basically consist of a meal, a beverage, a piece of fruit, and a homemade snack,” says Jaxson. “Just something so small, in such a small package, can go along way.”
Jaxson and Jarmon use their own money and their own vehicle to deliver the packages. They go out looking under bridges and in corners of center city, delivering the miniature meals. And they deliver toiletries once a month.
“We write a little handwritten note,” notes Jaxson, smiling. “After 2½ years, we know their names, so we write their names on the bag.”
Jaxson, who was born in Philadelphia, grew up in South Jersey. She went to college down south, and now workers as an actor in plays and films. She says she and Jarmon, who manages her career, split their time between Philadelphia and New York.
“God has blessed me to be able to help, so I want to help whoever I can,” says Jarmon, who used to play basketball at Ben Franklin High School. “That’s the drive and the passion that I have.”
Jaxson and Jarmon say they have no intention of creating a large nonprofit organization. Instead, she says, they’re happy just being two people who care.
“It makes you feel good about just caring and being human,” she says.
The have never solicited donations, but they welcome them, as well as fellow volunteers. For more information, send an e-mail to tjaxsonenterprises @ gmail.com.
Know someone in your community who cares enough to give back? Nominate them for KYW Newsradio news coverage at email@example.com!