What does a junior in college and a death row inmate have in common? The goal to positively affect their community. In 2019 TaTiana Rawlings, a Bowie State University graduate, and Kenneth Lighty, a man awaiting execution on death row, founded the Lighty Project. The idea was brewed from an intense conversation between a godchild and her godfather, both native Washingtonians, about the rapid effects of gentrification currently sweeping through the nation’s capital.
The monthly feedings are our contribution in the fight against hunger, homelessness and housing instability. With these feedings we hope to lift the spirits of those experiencing a major hardship through small acts of kindness such as food donations, personal item donations and fellowship.
Our events are open to all who wish to join!
A Word From Our Founders
TaTiana Rawlings, Founder.
When I was in college, I was able to determine community service was something I genuinely enjoyed. I found myself volunteering regularly at my former middle school which became the highlight of my week for a lot of tough weeks being a college student. As I approached the end of my program I found myself feeling sad when I thought about not having the same schedule freedom once I began my life as a working adult. I expressed my sadness to my godfather on one of our weekly 15 minute calls and he suggested I find a way to schedule time to give back on a frequent basis, even if it wasn't on a weekly basis like I had been doing at the school. A few weeks later I had mentioned to him how the neighborhood he once knew was nothing like what he remembered, which was causing a lot of people to relocate or be on the streets. He was shocked to hear that gentrification is so severe it causes people to be
homeless and challenged me to research ways to help those experiencing homelessness. My research revealed a few policies, definitions and statistics that I found very alarming which fueled a fiery inside me that I wasn't able to shake. On our next call he proposed the idea of hosting events where I passed out meals to those experiencing homelessness. I immediately fell in love, dug deeper into laws related to soliciting and bans against serving food to those a part of the homeless population, and the rest is history.
Kenneth Lighty, Co-Founder.
For those of you that know me personally, though this initiative bears my name, it is not about me. It's something much bigger. Seeing the pictures of all of you truly inspired me to keep trying to reach beyond this wall and impact the lives of those that are less fortunate, even if it is in a small way. The goal for us both is to one day be able to look up and not see ANY homeless people on our streets, or not have ANYONE have to go hungry.
Myself, along with my brilliant goddaughter have started this human service organization that purchases, prepares, and serves meals to the homeless every month, using money from our own pockets, which you have come to know as The Lighty Project. Please follow @TheLightyProject on Instagram as well, so that people can see the love being spread, utilize the hashtag (#TheLightyProject), repost pictures, and whatever else that can be done to help build a movement that is
very much needed, no matter how many already exist. I plan to soon include hygiene bags with the meals as well. Ms. Rawlings and I are open to any suggestions of how we can improve and expand the initiative. Please feel free to message her, or me personally with whatever questions or advice you may have. All are welcome. I appreciate the luv, and ask that you support The Lighty Project.
Love is Loyalty.... #TheLightyProject
At the Lighty Project, we aim to positively affect a population that is often disregarded. Often in success, we are far removed from hard times but at the Lighty Project we like to shed light on the effects of hard times such as being without a home and not knowing where your next meal will come from. Food is an essential necessity to our being and we feel no human should be deprived of it. By hosting monthly feedings we hope to inspire other members of our community to pitch in and help uplift those who are in a tough spot. We hope you will join us in our combat of hunger, homelessness and housing instability.
Our Core Values
To see someone struggle to get a bare necessity, such as food, should always be a motivator to dig within and become selfless. When you are blessed, you are supposed to bless others.
People often judge the end result but everyone knows the feeling of being hungry and needing help. If more tapped into that, the problem wouldn't be so monumental.
Until we start to see those that suffer as our people, we can never really see beyond the labels that confine them and keep them from getting the personal help that they need. It doesn't just take a village to raise a child.