Missouri Couple Reaches Inner-City Children Through Feeding Ministry

by | Aug 31, 2003 | Charisma Archive

Each year Granny’s House serves thousands of after-school meals to youth

Gredia Bell, 21, sat in her dark apartment praying for God to help her.

Lonely and pregnant in Columbia, Mo., Bell had no relatives to call. She was in a new city and had lived most of her life in foster homes after her mom gave her up. “I never had a mother or a father, and I prayed for grandparents for [my daughter] Mahogany,” Bell told Charisma.

Her answer came in the form of a doctor’s wife, who was going door to door through Bell’s apartment complex with a friend, praying for the residents.

“Pam [Ingram] asked me if she could pray for me and my unborn baby,” Bell recalled. After the prayer, Ingram left and returned with gifts for the baby.

The gesture sparked a relationship between the women that has since morphed into a ministry known as Granny’s House, through which Ingram and her husband, Dr. Ellis Ingram, feed and mentor inner-city children.

The ministry was officially born in 2001 in the Douglass Park Public Housing complex, where Ingram met Bell. “I wanted to call it Granny’s House because we provide a home-like atmosphere that’s bright and colorful,” said Ingram, 52. “We share life principles with the kids and do things with them that you would with your own children.”

Granny’s House serves more than 7,000 free meals each year out of two adjoining apartments that the Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) provided at a reduced rate. “They [Granny’s House] are a safe refuge for the children,” said CHA Director Doris Chiles. “Not only do they get food, but a sense of trustworthiness. I’ve never seen anything like this in the seven years I’ve been the [CHA] director.”

The ministry feeds 35 to 50 children from ages 4 to 12 every day after school. “They come running off the bus with their backpacks still on into Granny’s House,” she told Charisma. “They all call me ‘Granny Pam,’ and we love them and pray for them.”

Six of those children belong to Sheryl Carter. “My children have been going to Granny’s House for two years,” Carter said. “They do crafts, play activities, eat an evening meal and snack, and learn Bible verses.”

Carter said she has seen a difference in her five sons–Michael, 12; Robert, 10; Antonio, 8; Anthony, 7; and James, 6–since they started attending Granny’s House. “My boys are more gentleman-like,” she said. “They are respectful. She [Ingram] teaches them kindness and how to handle situations rather than fight and be rude.”

Raised in the inner city themselves, the Ingrams said they felt God “sending us back where we started” in 1994. The couple had been mentoring youth for years–25 to date–but their ministry officially began with their door-to-door Free-Prayer outreach at Douglass Park.

Today Pamela Ingram estimates that Granny’s House has an annual budget of $28,000 because she doesn’t take a salary. But the couple say they see the fruit of their investment in the children’s lives.

Known affectionately as “Poppi,” Dr. Ingram, 53, works quietly behind the scenes. He takes the boys to sports activities and arranges special trips to places such as the University of Missouri Medical Center and the Career Center Laser Technology Lab.

Though unassuming, the ministry has not gone unnoticed. In 2001 Missouri state Rep. Vicky Riback-Wilson hailed Granny’s House as a model faith-based organization, prompting a visit from Gov. Bob Holden the same year.

With plans to expand into another community across town, Granny’s House has a faithful staff of volunteers from churches around the city. Martha Lee, 14, serves food and plays with the children every Friday. “It’s put in me a servant’s heart and gives me a chance to give back,” Martha said. “I take a couple hours to make someone else’s life better.”

Volunteer JoAnn Wilson, 65, is a retired businesswoman. “We’ve just started a Bible study with one of the mothers,” she told Charisma. “We pray every Thursday for Granny’s House. Usually two to three little ones will knock on the door, and we’ll pray over them. They are always ready for prayer.”

Prayer, Pamela Ingram said, is still the foundation of the ministry. It is what led her to Bell, now 25, and her daughter, now 4, who have become an integral part of the Ingrams’ lives. “I helped take care of Mimi [Mahogany] after she was born,” Ingram said, “and I can’t imagine life without her.”
Leilani Haywood


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel uncomfortable talking about the devil, but he is real and it’s important for us to face the truth about him so we can have a victorious life in Christ. Now,...

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

Note: As we move towards Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Grant Berry, a Messianic believer, speaks about the deeper repentance needed in the Messianic part of the family. As you have read part one of this article during the month of Av and are now reading part two in the...

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

The most sobering and troubling statement in the Olivet Discourse is where Jesus says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). This statement cries out for an...


Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe34pxhddd4 With Hurricane Ian slamming Florida, it's a time to reflect on the storms of life. As I was preparing for the hurricane, I documented some thoughts about...
Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

God doesn’t care if I am fat. He wants me to enjoy my life. He wants me to live, love and be happy. Food makes me happy so I’m just doing what He wants me to do. That was just an excuse and at its core it is untrue. God really doesn’t care about our outward...

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams turned heads last week in Atlanta when she defiantly announced during a political event that an unborn baby doesn’t have a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” said...

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

We are kingdom citizens, and not of this world. We don’t abide by this world’s economy and the natural things that happen. Repeatedly, over the last four weeks, I’ve been hearing not to look at the circumstances of this world. We are not of this world. Get your eyes...

Pin It on Pinterest