The Rev. Mary Lee Allen, affectionately known as "Mother Allen," is known for the help she gives others.
But some friends wanted to give something back to her recently. About 35 of them honored Mrs. Allen with an appreciation dinner at the Keystone Club last week.
"She is always helping people who need food or shelter," said Gloria Standish, who organized the Thursday dinner with Emma Scott. "She helps to find jobs for people, and counsels . . . people at her home all the time. . . . She has worked with unwed mothers, people in jail, hoping to get them back on the spiritual path.
"If you have a problem in your life, just call her. There is no black and white with her, no racial boundaries."
Mrs. Allen ran revivals in New York, where she lived for 46 years. She has lived in St. Petersburg for more than 30 years. Once, a mother asked her to come pray with her sick daughter.
"I did what God told me to do," Mrs. Allen said. "I worked with her. Some people ask me to pray that they get a job and it usually happens. I have prayed with young men and women to straighten up their lives."
Mrs. Allen, 84, said she works with an average of four people a day. "God gives me stamina and I thank him for it."
Gloria Reed, pastor of the Church of Truth in St. Petersburg, which Mrs. Allen attends, said she "is a wonderful person, very dedicated to doing God's work."
The Rev. Maxine Palmer, a close friend of Mrs. Allen's, adds: "Whenever you are in trouble or have something bothering you, you call her and she always has the right answer. I had a fine mother but if God had another mother to give me, I would have accepted her with pride."
Said Mrs. Standish: "If this woman talks to you, it's like God speaking."