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A smile or thanks for help is reward enough

An occasional feature on how your faith has affected your life.

I am a volunteer in charge of the food pantry at our church, Childs Park United Methodist. It is a very rewarding feeling when you give someone a bag of groceries, and you see tears come to their eyes, and you know you are helping them.

Some of these people are homeless; some have not had any food in their homes for two or three days. They give you a big hug and say thank you. I thank God every day that he has given me the strength and good health to keep doing this work.

A couple of years ago, I received a Christmas card from someone in South Carolina. I had no idea who she was, but when I opened it, there was this beautiful card thanking me for giving her son, who is HIV-positive, a Thanksgiving basket. Tears came to my eyes, and I again said "thank you, God."

Another time we were having a work day at church and there was a knock on the door. There stood this little boy who lived down the alley in a converted garage made into living quarters. He said it was his birthday, and his mother said if I would give him three eggs, she would bake him a birthday cake. I happened to have four eggs in the food pantry, and I gave them to him and his eyes lit up. The next Sunday, he told us that he was able to have a birthday cake, and he gave us a big smile. That smile was thanks enough for me.

I volunteer about 30 hours a week. I do it because I love the Lord, and I think this is what he wants me to do.

I am 67 years old. When I retired, I was in a bad depression. My husband had passed away the year before, and I had a heart condition.

When I took over the food pantry and got involved in church again, I became a changed person. My life has been rewarded in so many ways.

Alberta Thompson,

St. Petersburg

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