While Charlie is gone, his giving spirit and Gods love are packed into every Charlie's Lunch. This is his story.
Sam & Janey Stewart's son Charlie was born with a serious heart defect. It was only through the work of brilliant doctors and many miracles that he survived birth. Though Charlie was physically handicapped by his heart condition, he remained one of the most spiritually alive kids you could ever meet. He was a beacon of joy who loved to give.
On his first day of kindergarten, 5-year-old Charlie Stewart went to school proudly carrying the lunch his mom had made. When Janey went to check on him at lunchtime, she found him sitting next to his new friend, Micah. Micah was eating Charlie’s lunch and Charlie had the biggest smile on his face. Charlie had given his lunch to his new friend. And while he must have felt a little hungry watching Micah eat, Charlie’s smile told the story. He loved to give and watch the joy it brought to others.
In the following months and years, this became the pattern of Charlie’s life – giving and sacrifice. When he went with his dad to minister to the poor in Guatemala City and the surrounding communities, he would always come home with less than he took, giving whatever he could to a needy child.
Tragically, on February 1, 1996, three weeks short of his 13th birthday, Charlie’s heart just couldn’t hold out any longer, and he went home to be with the Lord. This was of course gain for Charlie, but for his family, and for others he left behind, there was a tremendous sense of loss. Lunchtime was an especially painful time for Charlie’s mom because, in later years, she had home schooled Charlie and there were many special memories of lunchtime together.
One day, around lunchtime, as Janey was sharing her emptiness and grief with the Lord, there was a knock at the door. When she opened it, she found two little boys begging for a piece of bread. In that instant, Janey felt the Lord was telling her, "Give them Charlie’s lunch."
Sam & Janey with some of
the first Charlie's Lunch kids
Charlie just before he died