The Shepherd’s Storehouse parking lot was filled with dozens of cars Wednesday morning as volunteers joyfully unloaded care packages into the trunks of families in need of food and clothing.
This is the 29th year the Angel Tree program has served the community by providing toys and clothing for hundreds of families.
Every year, PointBank provides a turkey for the families to cook on Christmas day.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 p.m. to noon, The Shepherd’s Storehouse offers assistance with everyday needs such as help with medical bills or rent.
“Just about any physical need that our people have, we’re able to meet it,” Storehouse director Luther Slay said. “We’ve been doing this for 29 years and don’t intend to stop.”
Local churches and members of the community give financial support to allow the store to buy canned goods and other necessities.
Slay said the store has never had to go out to the community to ask for funding, the community has supplied everything.
“This is the greatest and most generous people in the world,” Slay said. “They all give, whether big amounts or small amounts. The schools’ have food drives for us that help us keep food through the year.”
On average, The Shepherd’s Storehouse assists about 150 families a month, Slay said.
Slay’s calling from the Lord is what motivates him to continue to faithfully serve his community.
“We’re here to serve,” he said. “That’s why I’m here. God saved us to serve. Everybody who’s saved ought to be serving in some way, somehow. I’m 85 years old and I enjoy every day of it.”
Linda Navarre, the Angel Tree program coordinator since 1998, explained the events that led up to today.
“The people that came to pick up care packages have received assistance from us before,” Navarre said. “We had them fill out an Angel Tree form, then we transferred it to a paper angel, and hung them at the Chamber of Commerce St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Point Bank, Midway Church.
“Once all the angels were purchased, we arranged the purchased items here at the store for them to come by and pick up,” she said.
There were 217 angels hung at the four locations and Navarre said there wasn’t an angel left.
“That says a lot about this community,” Navarre said. “We have to turn people away and point them to another place where they can help. This is a very giving place with people that love others.”
Navarre’s 15 year-old granddaughter, Marissa Carrion, has helped out for as long as she can remember.
“I don’t remember not doing this,” Carrion said as she laughed. “My favorite part is running the bags out to the families and seeing how happy they are. It’s just a good feeling.”