Mother 2 Many: Couple feeds local youth at skate parks

Wittlers visits Yelm Skate Park Tuesdays in summer


Joann Wittler heard God’s voice, crystal clear, say to her at church in 2013 that she “will be the mother to many.” She had raised four children of her own, but she had no idea what the words meant.

A week later, she heard from God again that she was to help youth experiencing homelessness. Wittler told her husband, Steven, of the message, and he agreed to help her. In March of 2013, they created Mother 2 Many, a nonprofit outreach that feeds youth at skate parks in Pierce and Thurston counties.

The Wittlers, who live in Roy, visit Yelm Skate Park on Tuesdays during the summer, as well as facilities in Sumner, Eatonville, Allen York, Buckley, Orting and Puyallup throughout the week. They hand out free snacks and beverages to youth and let them know that they are important.

“God put it on my heart to help our youth. I believe that our youth, especially since we started in the last 10 years, need to know that they matter and that they’re not forgotten,” Joann Wittler said. “We’ve built some amazing relationships with the kids, and that’s the best part. They really know that we’re out here to help them, and they keep on coming back.”

This summer is the sixth that Mother 2 Many has served the Yelm Skate Park, and the group also delivers snack items to the Yelm Boys and Girls Club. The Wittlers also feed numerous communities during the school year and are often joined by volunteers.

Wittler wrote about her journey in creating the organization in her book, “A Woman’s Journey to Becoming Mother 2 Many.” She described how she followed God’s path for her and learned how to give back to those in need. She wrote how the most important method for helping youth was to be consistent.

“Too many youths have had too many adults make broken promises. In contrast, being consistent lets them know you genuinely care,” she wrote. “Never tell them you are going to do something and then not follow through. For example, if you tell one of them you are going to bring them a hat next week, you had better have that hat next week. Once they know you are for real, you will see kind, thankful, loving youth.”

Wittler is driven by the joy on kids’ faces as they receive a meal and a smile from her and her husband. She said during the school year last year, they fed 35,000 kids.

“I love it when you get out there and you see how happy the kids are to come and see you. They’re so excited. That’s what it’s all about is just making those kids happy and seeing their smiling faces,” she said.

When God told Wittler that she would be a “mother to many,” she thought He was talking to the wrong person. But as time went by, she began to understand why He chose her.

“What we’re doing is working. I want to continue to do it. We’ve had kids come back and say they were homeless and that we really helped them because they pretty much get a meal,” she said. “If I know that they’re homeless or maybe couch-surfing, I will always let them take more so that they have extra things. A happy kid is not one that’s out hungry and gonna go steal stuff. It’s nice for them to just be kids.”

To learn more about Mother 2 Many, visit its Facebook page at or its website at

“A Woman’s Journey to Becoming Mother 2 Many” is available at The Shiplap Shop & Coffee House in Yelm.