Pastor Emilienne Jean Marie with Jesus Christ Foundation cooks and serves hot meals every day to the homeless from her soup kitchen, located at 8405 N. 46th St. in Tampa.

Pastor Emilienne Jean Marie is no stranger to hardships. She is a Haitian single mother who experienced homelessness herself and now uses her experience, faith and compassion to serve the community through the Jesus Christ Foundation’s soup kitchen.

“I was homeless in New York living in a shelter for 18 months,” said Marie. “A former homeless person is the best person to understand the burden of the homeless.”

It was there that she found her strength in God, her understanding of her life’s work and her mission to serve the hungry.

After moving to Florida, Marie, along with her son, Didier, began feeding the hungry in Plant City, Lakeland and Tampa during the pandemic. However, in January, Marie was able to finally open a permanent soup kitchen in Tampa to feed the homeless every day.

She prepares all the hot meals herself as well as distributes clothing, shoes, hygiene kits and Bibles to those in need. In addition, Marie continues to distribute groceries and bread to more than 100 families in Plant City once a week. If you come by the soup kitchen on any given Sunday between 11 a.m.-3 p.m., you will also be treated to worship, fellowship and fun. During this time, the people that come to the soup kitchen feel restored and loved.

“My favorite part of this ministry is the smiles on faces, the hope in the eyes and the hug of love for a better future,” said Marie. “Help others as much as you can and love each other as Jesus asked us to do, because God is love.”

The Jesus Christ Foundation also serves other communities, including Haiti, New York, Miami and New Jersey, and plans on expanding the feeding ministry soon to Africa.

With the rising costs of groceries, any contribution to the ministry would be welcome, as well as clothes. To donate, contact Marie at or 302-775-1249. Payments can be received through Zelle, Cash App, and PayPal, or you can bring your donations to the Jesus Christ Foundation’s soup kitchen, located at 8405 N. 46th St. in Tampa. For more information, follow the Facebook page @pastoremiliennejeanmarie.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.