The Fifteen Percent Provides Wholesome Meals and Much-Needed Nutrition

The Fifteen Percent Provides Wholesome Meals and Much-Needed Nutrition

March 7, 2022 in Agency Spotlight

Some good ideas begin with a plan, and some are stumbled upon. Kathy and Keith Miller know this all too well. Their journey to founding The Fifteen Percent, a feeding site that provides hot meals to neighbors facing hunger in Liberal, Mo., started with one small act of kindness.

Four years ago, Kathy and Keith went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner. On their way home, they saw three children walking down the street, one of whom was very thin. The Millers stopped and asked the child if he was hungry. The child shared that there wasn’t enough food at home. Without hesitation, Kathy and Keith gave the boy their food and offered to cook him dinner later that day. This one instance was the accidental beginning of The Fifteen Percent.

“It was a realization. We live in such a small community, but I hadn’t noticed this boy before. How many other people in town had I not noticed who didn’t know where their next meal would come from?” says Kathy, President and Co-Founder of The Fifteen Percent.
Kathy offered to feed the boy whenever he needed a meal. He began bringing more people, telling Kathy, “There are people in worse shape than me.” Word soon spread, and community members began referring individuals who needed a meal to the Millers’ house, knowing the Millers would feed them.

However, Kathy was soon informed that, in order to continue providing meals, she would have to make the operation official or face being shut down. The Millers sensed that what they were doing was too important to stop, and so made the decision to obtain all necessary inspections and documentation to continue their work. They named their new organization The Fifteen Percent after learning that 15% of people in their area were facing food insecurity.

When not at their regular jobs, the Millers were preparing the meals from their own home, but they soon realized they would need a separate building and more help to effectively serve neighbors in need. News of their work reached a Walmart in the neighboring city of Lamar, who offered to donate the money to put a building in the Miller’s backyard.

Additional support has come from Ozarks Food Harvest. Kathy shares, “When we partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest, that was a game changer. Before, we were completely self-supporting. My husband and I bought the food. Now we can get free or affordable food and grocery items from Ozarks Food Harvest.”

The Millers continue to run The Fifteen Percent after work and on weekends, with additional help from six volunteers. Kathy prepares the food herself, and volunteers now help package and deliver the meals directly to homes of people they serve two nights each week. The Fifteen Percent is also able to provide food and grocery items to local senior citizen housing once a week.

“We live in a small town with no real grocery store. It’s a food desert,” Kathy explains, “It’s hard to get fresh produce and healthy food in town. I want the food we serve to be good.”

Kathy says they couldn’t have predicted where they are now. What started as a desire to feed a few children has become an important service for nearly fifty people every week. When thinking about the future of The Fifteen Percent, Kathy plans to focus on what is going well and continue helping their community.

“Our original goal was just to feed some kids. We didn’t realize what a big deal it would be. I never imagined we’d be feeding senior citizens or families. Now we’ve established a relationship of trust with the people we serve. We need to maintain what we’re doing,” says Kathy.

Ozarks Food Harvest is proud to support meal programs like The Fifteen Percent, who provide important nutrition for their neighbors in need. You can find more information about The Fifteen Percent on their Facebook page, or email