Family Remembers Almeta Crayton During "Poor Man's Breakfast"

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COLUMBIA - Family members of Almeta Crayton joined St. Luke United Methodist Church to host the "Poor Man's Breakfast" on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday.

Almeta Crayton passed away in October 2013 at the age of 53 due to heart issues. The former Columbia city councilwoman was remembered for her work in the community. She served as the First Ward councilwoman from 1999-2008, and started the neighborhood event "Everybody Eats" which served Thanksgiving dinner to people in need.

Anthony Crayton, brother of Almeta Crayton said he came to the event Monday to keep his sister's legacy going.

"The family decided after her passing that we want to continue her legacy and that's why we are doing this. We understand she was a big part of Columbia, so we just want to keep it going," Anthony Crayton said. "As long as the city, the community wants to see it, we are gonna do it."

Anthony Crayton said his sister loved Columbia and the community. He said Crayton learned from her mother who did the same in St. Louis to help people in need.

"She [Almeta Crayton] wanted people to come together. Rich and poor, for the come and go, understanding each other no matter what. Black, white, we are all the same. All the inside it's same blood and why not help your neighbor, and that was what she was about, that was her life, helping," he said.

Janice Threat-Smith, program assistant with the Columbia Crayton Community Program said she and four other community members formed the program in November to remember the woman who cared about the community.

"I'm involved to keep her philosophy of community, being able to come together. White, black, rich, poor, political, non-political, homeless. I like that concept of her work," Threat-Smith said. "There is no sign-up sheet, no membership, no income requirement, it's about being a member of the Columbia community."

Residents lined up from 8 a.m. for a plate of eggs, biscuits, bacon and desserts. The breakfast catered to everyone in the community and everyone was free to attend. The program has been running for more than 20 years, and the Columbia Crayton Community Program plans to reach out to the community more directly to help people in need.