Beloved Veteran Retires After Decades Feeding Atlanta's Homeless
"On May the first, I turned 75 years old and it's just time to go," Corbin told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The Florida native is no stranger to service. Before he started at Crossroads, Corbin spent 22 years as a cook in the Army.
Hardworking, energetic, and generous, his colleagues suspect they'll have a hard time filling his shoes.
"Someone like him who's done this for almost 33 years? You don't replace that. You don't just find somebody who can do what Clyde does," Rev. Tony Johns, Crossroads' executive director, told the AJC. "Because what he's done, he's done for so long and so well and it's unique to him in so many ways."
Corbin began feeding the homeless in the late 80s, running the kitchen as St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta. He spent 10 years distributing daily meals from the church's Parish Hall until he a group of volunteers helped form Crossroads as a standalone nonprofit. Corbin served Crossroads' first meal on July 1, 1997.
To date, between his time at St. Luke's and Crossroads, Corbin has served nearly three million meals. What kept him motivated? The people he served—many of whom he knew on a first-name basis.
"I don't get discouraged. As long as I am feeding people, I have to leave the rest to God," he told AJC in 2016.
And he didn't just feed people—he inspired them too. Each morning Corbin would come out of the kitchen named in his honor to address the crowd and offer them hope.
"Clyde is able to speak to a room of 200 individuals who are going through incredible crises and dealing with all kinds of difficulties, and he's able to really inspire and encourage them to take the next steps to exit homelessness or improve their situation," Johns said. "He just gives them hope to keep trying."
He also served in other ways, sharing his cooking knowledge to help people get jobs.
"He's put dozens, if not hundreds of people into the workforce in food service, because he chose to mentor them," Johns told AJC.
Corbin also inspired countless others to pursue volunteerism, which Johns hopes will be his legacy.
As for his retirement, Corbin hopes to do some serious traveling. Once the coronavirus pandemic eases us, he plans to travel the United States with his wife of 49 years, Marian, in their RV.
Thank you so much for your good work, Mr. Clyde, and enjoy your retirement!