PENROSE – If you drive down North Euclid Avenue in the Penrose neighborhood on a weekday afternoon around two o’clock, you’ll notice Champale Anderson standing on the sidewalk.
In front of her stands a table filled with Kool-Aid Jammers, Little Hug Fruit Barrels, a variety of chips, granola bars, applesauce, fruit snacks and more.
The hand-made sign nailed to the utility pole a few feet away from where she stands reads, “Champ’s Teardrops.” She calls the project “Champ’s Tears” for short; Anderson said she and her sister-in-law created the moniker by combining her nickname, Champ, with something – teardrops – they felt would reflect what they call a “sad” situation.
Anderson, a mother of six and north St. Louis native, has been making national headlines for the past few weeks, and her story has gone viral on the internet.
National media outlets such as BET, Essence, ABC News, The New York Post, Vibe Magazine, Newsweek and a slew of local news stations have featured the St. Louis woman.
Anderson works as a health care provider. She started a GoFundMe account to raise donations to help feed the children in her neighborhood who may not get enough to eat at home.
But she acknowledges that she never expected her original plea for donations to gain so much momentum.
Anderson feeds the neighborhood children daily, sometimes preparing more than 100 sandwiches for each of the three sites that she sets up.
She hands out snack bags in Penrose, Pine Lawn and the O’Fallon neighborhoods each weekday.
Anderson said she had an open-door policy. If children would like a meal before or after school, all they have to do is head over to Champ’s Tears.
She said that feeding the children was something she enjoyed doing but that she never thought she would get this much attention.
“I never expected it to be like this. I’m glad,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s initial goal was to raise $1,500 on GoFundMe, but since her story has gotten so much exposure, that total has reached well over $66,000 as of Sep. 27.
“That money don’t mean nothing to me,” Anderson said. “If I didn’t have that, I’m still going to keep going. I didn’t have it before. [It’s] only going to keep it going further.”
“I’m just so looking forward to this exciting adventure,” she added.
It’s something she and the children have in common.
“I want to keep it going because I need them to stay focused. We [have] lost so many,” Anderson noted.
She plans to use donations to add Champ’s Tears to more neighborhoods across north St. Louis.
“We’re going to see what it looks like five years from now,” Anderson said.
Although the world has just caught on, for the past five years Anderson’s adult daughter, Satin White, has had a front-row seat to her mother’s selfless actions. White works alongside Anderson in north St. Louis on most school days.
“I’m shocked honestly,” White explained. “We never expected it to happen, so it’s a blessing that it did happen — that someone came about her presence and blessed her to where she’s now acknowledged throughout the world, not only in the Missouri state, but everywhere.”
“I’m proud of her,” White said of her mother.
“When God blesses you, your blessings are not your blessings,” Anderson stated. “Your blessings are meant to share with people.
“Keep it going.”