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Pay It Forward: Phyllis Everette

Everette is the founder of Saffron Trust, an organization that helps women and families thrive.

AUSTIN, Texas — Life is full of ups and downs. But if you are lucky enough along the way, you'll meet people who are there to help. 

Phyllis Everette has a unique understanding of generational poverty because she lived it.

"When I had my third child, I was in my second marriage and I was a battered wife. So, I moved into a shelter for battered women and although it was a very dark time for me, the sisterhood there gave me new life," Everette said.

She received such overwhelming support back in New Jersey that it changed her life. Now she's aiming to return the favor to women in Austin. 

"I actually moved here and, in a year, gained, like, 40 pounds because the food is so good. But I was surprised to know that one in four families were food insecure, and I didn't understand how that could be," she said. 

Knowing firsthand that you can't live a full life on an empty stomach, Everette founded the Saffron Trust Women's Foundation in 2018. 

"We serve about 1,000 meals on a weekly basis and, since January, we [have] served over 50,000 meals and we affected over, you know, tens of thousands of families," Everette said.

Saffron Trust partners with The Cook's Nook, a culinary kitchen located on Thompson Lane near US 183, where local chefs prepare and package fresh, healthy meals.

RELATED: Founder of The Cook's Nook discusses her career, finding the sweet spot between cooking and technology

You can order your meals in advance online or show up at any of the three Saffron Trust locations. There are two in East Austin, one on Harvey Road and one off Pennsylvania Avenue, and a Pflugerville location off Old Hutto Road.

KVUE and Charles Maund Toyota awarded Everette $1,000 for all her work.

She said it takes a village to help these women and it's a real collaborative effort. 

"Just to feed one belly, it takes five partnerships. So, we have Cook's Nook who's preparing the food. Then we have TryHungry who are the delivery services that bring the food. We have Mt. Zion Baptist Church and the other churches that allow us to house it. We have Texas Workforce Solutions that pays the employees, and then Saffron Trust that serves the meals," she said.

Aside from warm meals, Saffron Trust also offers women financial counseling and helps them find employment. The resources they provide are endless – and so is Everette's kindness. 

"She is very genuine. She puts everyone first. She's really an advocate for the community, and she really wants women to feel safe and have a community," said Lexia Jones, who works with Everette at Saffron Trust and nominated her for the Pay It Forward award.

The three Saffron Trust locations are open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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