Back in 1991 when Ethel M. “Big Mama” Ryals lost her mother was it was ending of a new beginning.
Her mother had so much food in the freezer that neither one of her brother or sister wanted to
keep the food. So Mrs. Ryals asks the Lord what must I do with all of this food. The Lord stated
“Feed my people” She asks Where? He said I will show you. God direct her to the old Woodworth
Park downtown. This was new for “Big Mama”, she didn’t know where she was but she knew that
she had to feed God’s people. She was helped by her four lovely daughter’s Brenda, Cassondra,
Michelle, and Kimberly. Big Mama always severs hot and steamy home cook meals to scores for the
homeless, hungry, those that are less fortunate, and those that are just in need. As
time progressed her regulars grew leaps and bounds. According to her daughter,
“Nothing makes Big Mama happier than helping these people. She feels that it is a
gift from God to be able to do what she doing even thou it would leave not even a
little time for herself.
On this day one of her children said to her “Big Mama” are you going to feed the homeless, because it was very cold and it is raining outside? She began to say “baby you eat when it is cold or raining my other son and daughters will eat as well. So I am going with or without you because this may be someone last meal you just don’t know baby.” No matter what the obstacle was at hand even losing her home. She still manage she just couldn’t help herself but she had them as well. She always stated the Lord will provide and he does every time. One of her daughter said this woman is just crazy but no “Big Mama” is just crazy about Jesus and helping other. She is always willing to give her very last to help someone else smile again.
Ethel M. Ryals started back in 1991 when she lost her mother. Her mother left a freezer full of food. The siblings didn’t have any need for. So Ethel Ryals ask the Lord what must I do with all this food. The Lord replied “Feed my people!” Then she asks where will I feed your people. He said “I will show you”. God lead her to the old Woodworth Park downtown. This was the new Big Mama. She didn’t know where she was but she knew that she had to feed the people with the help of her four daughter’s Brenda, Cassondra, Michelle, and Kimberly. Mother Ryals “Big Mama” started serving steaming hot portions of home cooked meals to scores of homeless, hungry people collected from all over the streets of Atlanta. And that was “Big Mama’s” second job. The first job she was a Breakfast host at the Hampton Inn of Buckhead five days a week. Now she is working at Homewood Suites working there two days a week. As time progressed the number increased and, according to her daughter, “nothing makes “Big Mama” happier than helping people. She felt it was a gift from God to be able to do what she doing even was though it left her little time or energy for herself.” Ethel M. Ryals also serves as the co-Pastor of House of Deliverance Church Inc. in Decatur under the leadership of Apostle Jimmy Ryals Sr., her wonderful husband. She is a mother of 13, grandmother of 33 and the great grandmother of 9. She is a strong woman of God that loves the people and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty to fulfill the will of God.
Big Mama’s vision and goal is to open many transitional houses for men, women, and children that want a change and need a second chance at life. She look at Tyler Perry and say if he can come from homeless to a Multimillionaire I know my work is not in vain. Over the many years over 30 men and women have come off the street and changed their life and have a new start just by someone loving on them and feeding them a hot meal, making them feel like someone even though they have falling on hard times and someone still care. Sometime people think I am homeless because I sit, talk and interact with time not by my words, but my actions of being authentic and loving them.