‘God is in front of everything we do:’ Remembering Savannah’s “Free Lunch Baby”

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 10:34 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Wednesday night marks two years since a community leader in Savannah was shot.

Kareem Smalls, known as Free Lunch Baby, died the next day.

WTOC covered this story from the start.

Thanksgiving is different for his mother, Lavania Smalls this year.

It has been since his death in 2020.

“It’s a sad day but it’s bittersweet,” she said.

Smalls fed up to a thousand children and inspired them to go after their dreams.

His mother said, “he wanted to relate to the projects because when you come from the projects everyone gets free lunch...everyone got free lunch. Even I did in my days when I was growing up so I knew exactly what it was about. It meant something and he had a passion for it. He had a passion for people.”

This Thanksgiving, Smalls is thankful the man responsible for taking her son is behind bars serving a life sentence.

“God is in front of everything we do and he has his hand on everything. I know justice is gonna come. I know it’s not gonna bring him back, but I’m relieved that guy is not on the streets.”

She is trying to make it a tradition to bring the community out to celebrate Kareem.

Smalls said they killed him, but not his dreams.

“He is not in vain and he is not forgotten.”

Giving, she says, is a part of who her son was and he wouldn’t want his legacy continued in any other way.

“Just keep on. Do what he would want you to do. Keep on running Free Lunch Baby...he’ll smile down on you.”

The event for Kareem is happening this Saturday at Conner’s Temple Baptist Church, at the corner of Gwinnett and MLK Blvd.

There will be food and entertainment from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is free and open to the public.