Mamma’s Hands was formed in December 1990 by Denny Hancock. It was triggered by a chance meeting between Denny, a homeless father and his son.
At the County Line Café in 1990, Denny Hancock, a Seattle businessman, went to a local café for his usual lunch break. While he was sitting at a table waiting to be served, in walked two homeless men, a father and a son. Seeing their rough appearance and feeling uncomfortable about their presence, Denny quickly turned away, hoping they wouldn’t sit by him. But they did!
Soon the father, son and Denny engaged in small talk. The father got up to use the phone and as Denny turned to the son to continue their conversation, he noticed the boy was blind. And while Denny was thinking about the challenges the duo faced, the unexpected happened: the son began having an epileptic seizure and fell to the floor. Not knowing how to help him, Denny called out for the father, who quickly rushed to his son’s aid.
After caring for his son, the father looked up and noticed Denny was watching, helplessly. Although the two were strangers, the father began to explain. “Please don’t feel sorry for us,” he said. “I’ve been in two wars and I’ve pulled the trigger. This boy is my reason for living. His slate is clean, his conscience clear and he is my ticket to Heaven.”
As the two left the café, Denny realized his perception of the homeless had changed. Realizing the importance of unconditional love, like a mother’s love for her child, Denny was determined to find a way to help the homeless.
A lover of music, Denny returned home and wrote “The County Line Cafe”. After sharing the song with a dear friend, Denny was inspired to start Mamma’s Hands and–you guessed it–bought an old potato chip delivery truck. Together with his wife, children and a close friend, they packed it with food, clothing and blankets and drove through the streets of Seattle to help people in need. The first night they fed 50, the second night they fed 100.