The longtime director of the non-profit Kids' Kitchen program in Anchorage has died at the age of 79.

Elgin Jones died Tuesday according to Deatrice Swazer, his friend and acting treasurer of the organization.

Swazer said Jones had been feeling ill for several weeks. According to Swazer, Jones collapsed at his home Tuesday afternoon and was rushed to the hospital where he died.

Jones called himself the "founder and the father" of Kids' Kitchen, after dreaming that God had a mission for him to feed children in 1996. He started serving free food to children at the Mountain View Recreation Center that year, then moved to the Fairview Recreation Center the following year where the program has operated ever since. Jones estimated the group had served a million free meals to children over the last 23 years.

Swazer said the non-profit's board of directors will decide how the program will proceed now that Jones has gone, but meals were still being served at the Fairview Rec Center both Wednesday and Thursday. She said plans for a memorial service for Jones are still being finalized.

Janis Harper contributed information to this story.

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