LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Supporting families is the goal of the non-profit, Men Making A Difference. They’ve been doing that for more than a decade. It all started 15 years ago at Hawk Island when they held a cookout for the community.

Co-founders, Andrew Brewer and Bobby Bradford, remember it like it was just yesterday.

“The sun was beaming and we probably had about 20 families at that time,” Brewer said.

It was one of the first events for M.M.A.D. Throughout their years serving, they’ve held several cookouts and food drives.

“We also would feed people in need. We would give away backpacks… any type of supplies people would need face masks, sanitizer,” Brewer said.

They said their annual family community cookout always brought out big crowds.

“We went from 20 to over 2,000 people. That was huge because it brought back that old school family love of community,” Brewer said.

He said it’s a tribute to a family tradition and something they wanted to continue for newer generations.

“In the black communities, families did this on the normal. On weekends they go to the park and play softball,” Brewer said.

Bradford said hosting the cookouts is one of his favorite things to do with M.M.A.D.

“I look at them when I’m cooking the food and handing people stuff and I see the smile and tears in their eyes that people do care,” Bradford said.

Bradford and Brewer said they’ve seen the impact M.M.A.D has for others.

“When this happened I seen all the lives changed… I seen everybody become better fathers, better uncles, and better grandfathers,” Brewer said.

They said it’s made a difference in their lives as well.

“I had never did this before but now I love to do it and I like to see the smile on peoples face when you try to help them,” Bradford said.

They said unfortunately they have not been able to have a cookout since the pandemic hit, but they hope 2022 may be the year they can turn those grills on again and have their annual cookout.