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TMCNet:  Seniors donate time wrapping cutlery to feed homeless, hungry

[February 17, 2012]

Seniors donate time wrapping cutlery to feed homeless, hungry

Feb 17, 2012 (Montgomery Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The good work of serving others knows no age boundaries.

That's the ethic of a small group of residents at Wesley Gardens who are helping, in a small but important way, to further the work of a local ministry that feeds the homeless and the hungry.

The residents of the elder care facility were working Thursday afternoon with Wesley Gardens' activity director, Faye Fitzwater, on a project to wrap and tie cutlery that will eventually be used at Reality and Truth Ministries in downtown Montgomery.

The ladies worked assembly-line style, enjoying the company of their fellow residents and some other guests, including Wanda Oswalt, a member and hostess at Capitol Heights United Methodist Church, who organized the effort.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Jackie Slaughter, explained the evolution of the effort. Several members of Capitol Heights' congregation were involved with Reality and Truth Ministries' work to feed the homeless each evening from a downtown church.

When Reality and Truth moved to their own location on South Court Street, one of Capitol Heights' members thought the congregation could take a regular role in cooking for and feeding the homeless. The church signed on to work the third Monday of every month to cook and serve a dinner meal.

Besides the food, there was a need to have napkins and cutlery, so Oswalt got in touch with Fitzwater and asked if some of the residents might like to take part by wrapping the plasticware that's given out to each hungry person. Each set is secured with the church's label.

Fitzwater thought it was a wonderful idea, and Wesley Gardens agreed to wrap 500 sets over two afternoons.

"They love doing this," Fitzwater said. "They've got so much to give." Many area churches like to provide programs and gifts for retirement homes and assisted living facilities, but it's easy to forget that the residents like to give back too. Fitzwater is always looking for ways to get them involved in community projects.

"It makes them feel needed, and they can still be productive," Fitzwater said. "When they get finished, you can see such self-satisfaction, that they did something for someone else." Mary Hammon is a member at Capitol Heights Methodist and is also a resident at Wesley Gardens. She was working with fellow residents Johnnie Parker and Sarah Lawson, among others.

"We really do have a good time here," Parker said. "They keep us busy." The 500 sets should last the Capitol Heights Methodist group about three months, Oswalt said. They'll no doubt ask Wesley Gardens for more help when they run out.

___ (c)2012 the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.) Visit the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.) at www.montgomeryadvertiser.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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