Pay it Forward: Utah mom cooks for homeless, at-risk youth every month

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Pay it Forward: Utah mom cooks for homeless, at-risk youth every month (Photo provided by Nicki Coates)

(KUTV) Every month, Nicki Coates gathers a crew of helpers to feed the homeless and at-risk youth at the Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Resource Center.

"We normally feed anywhere from 40 to 60," Coates said.

She got involved when she found her kids didn't need her as much.

"I was at the point in my life where I thought that I didn't know what to do," she said.

And some inspirational words from Gandhi sparking something inside of her.

"'The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,'" Coates said and she quoted Gandhi. "So after thinking about that I just started jumping into service work."

Her friends and family, even her kids, come help her cook.

"I was like, we're going to do this as a family," Coates said.

And her friends and family members also donate a lot of the food for the cause. They live as far away as Carbon and Emery Counties.

"It's amazing how much they are willing to donate," Coates said.

Mountain America Credit Union wanted to donate, too. They gave Coates $500 to go toward her next meals.

All their work is making a big difference to the youth in need. All three meals served at the Homeless Youth Resource Center are cooked by volunteers.

"If we didn't have our volunteers come in, serving our meals, we don't know what we would do," said Jayme Andersen, Director of Volunteer Services.

If you are interested in helping out at the center, visit the center's website.