It started in Boston.
Carly Mott and Alex Meiser, students at Blue Valley High School and Blue Valley Southwest, respectively, came home from a mission trip with the idea for a program in which the homeless would come to church not to pray, necessarily, but to paint.
“We watched it happen at the church that day,” says Mott. “They painted and enjoyed food and fellowship inside the church, then sold their paintings in an outside gallery on the street. On our way home other students decided to go out to eat, but we couldn’t stop talking about this idea.”
That passion to help the homeless wasn’t new for either Mott or Meiser. For the past five years, each has been traveling into the Metro area to hand out food to those who are hungry.
“I’ve been able to become familiar with some of the homeless,” says Meiser. “There are stereotypes that keep people from helping, like that they are lazy or dirty. But they are just like us; they are human. I love meeting new people, no matter their circumstance.”
Mott admits that she was a bit anxious at first. Now she keeps food in her glove box so that when she drives downtown, even to attend events with friends, she has something to offer those in need.
Their idea was fortified after reading a book titled What You Do Best in the Body of Christ by Bruce Bugbee, when they realized that they make a pretty good team.
Meiser is the visionary half of their partnership while Mott is more task oriented. Together they took their idea for Paint the Way first to their parents and their youth pastor at Presbyterian Church of Stanley, Harlan Harper, as well as the CAPS program at their respective schools.