PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — When a child visits Costello’s Butcher Shop in Pensacola, they rarely leave empty handed. They take home with them bags containing food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Here they get breakfast, lunch and dinner for them to take home.
“Oh, the lunches are really nicer,” said Tara Millien, who frequents the store with her father. “Most of them are like microwavable or you can eat them straight out of the pack. They taste really good.”
Some kids show their appreciation by creating pieces of artwork or writing book reports for shop owner, Christie Costello who has been giving food away for three years.
“We feed anywhere from 25,” said Costello. “We can go all the way up to 150 in a day. I don’t just feed the ones that need it. I feed all the kids that come through my door so that no kids know any different. They just know they’re special and they’re loved here. So, I feed them all.”
Costello’s ministry aims to feed the community physically and spiritually.
“These children think they’re the most important person that walks into the store,” said customer, Gina Temple. “They want to make sure that these kids feel like they are the most important person and they want to make sure these kids have what they need.”
Costello started giving away food during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said God spoke to hear in a dream.
“March 15th, 2020, when Covid hit,” said Costello. “God, he just spoke to me, said that this community was going to need help and that’s what I wanted to do.”
She’s given 128,000 meals since then and is still going strong. Her inspiration comes from her mother who died during the pandemic.
“I watched my mom go full circle,” said Costello. “I was raised by my grandma and my mom was an alcoholic. My dad, same thing, but my mom moved here and lived here for a whole year, sober, clean, and she got to see this be built and she got to be a part of the lunch program. I just seen how powerful God is. If he can fix my mom, he can and you can do anything.”
Before she died of pancreatic cancer, her mother was baptized in Gulf Waters. Costello has started a non-profit in her mother’s name, the Kimberly Tauer Foundation. The goal is to build a large hub, a commissary kitchen where she can teach kids life skills and how to run their own business.
“The fact that there’s somewhere like this in a community that’s thinking about other people’s children I think is phenomenal,” said customer, Samuel Millien.
Helping others to the extent she does takes a lot of work, but Costello explained why for her it is never difficult,
“They fill me up,” said Costello. “It fills me up to see them happy. I like seeing what it does. I like seeing what the effects it has on my customers, my employees, the people around me. No, it’s fantastic.”