The founder of Feed the Children presents a thorough overview of his life and career, from collecting change on returned bottles to nourishing millions of impoverished people across the globe.
Jones has had a remarkable life, and his page-turning memoir lays out all the key points, including various scandals that have snapped at the heels of his world-famous organization. A few early chapters cover the author’s upbringing in Bowling Green, Ky., and outline the establishment of his ministry in Oklahoma as an evangelical Methodist preacher and anti-porn crusader. Jones entered the public eye via a public mid-1970s confrontation with Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, recalled here in glorious detail. Shortly after this incident, Jones traveled to Haiti, where the idea for Feed the Children came to him. He began by soliciting surplus wheat from Oklahoma farmers to feed starving children in Haiti, and the organization’s focus today remains the effective distribution of food to those who need it. The most impressive passages detail lightning-quick responses to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, providing cogent insights into how Feed the Children mobilized so efficiently in the aftermath of these disasters. Non-Christian readers may balk at Jones’s frequent expressions of religious fervor and his habit of concluding chapters with a firm, somewhat repetitive emphasis on his belief in God’s guidance. But it’s to his credit that he doesn’t swerve from depicting Feed the Children’s darker days, and his writings on the internal workings of the organization during these periods make for engaging reading. In particular, he deals frankly and honestly with the 1999 CBS exposé regarding theft by workers at Feed the Children’s Nashville warehouse, admitting that the incident almost destroyed the organization.
At times naïve, but filled with readable insights into the workings of one of America’s most successful charities.