Dave Ritchey and Laurie Pinter, volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul Society, help Ian Lecaroz, right, owner of America’s Mattress in Navarre, load up a mattress for new Navarre resident, Sherwood Faulk, who suffers from spina bifida
Many are giving back to our community during the Thanksgiving holiday, feeding the homeless, offering meals to first responders and helping out neighbors – making it a time for true gratefulness.
Lois Faulk and her son, Sherwood, are two of those being blessed by the kindness and generosity of others this season. “I didn’t have anybody,” Lois said, explaining that her brothers and sisters have passed away.
So a caring friend allowed her and her 27-year-old son, Sherwood, who was born with spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair, move into a home in Navarre.
The Faulks relocated from Oklahoma and reached out to the local St. Vincent de Paul Society conference to see if it would be possible to get some assistance with a wheelchair ramp and new mattress for Sherwood, who requires a hydraulic lift to get into and out of bed.
Lois said volunteers leaped into action, getting assistance from another church group to build the ramp and a donation from America’s Mattress in Navarre. “I was so impressed. They came so fast and insisted on helping me. It’s a blessing,” she said, brushing back tears and repeating “God is so good.”
Volunteer Laurie Pinter, Sherwood Faulk and his mom, Lois, and volunteer David Ritchey enjoyed a moment of thanksgiving after Sherwood’s new mattress was delivered
Church volunteer David Ritchey said the organization had run out of funds for assistance so the community help was much needed. “Ian and his company stepped up and did this out of their own pocket,” he said. “It was a lifesaver in this situation.”
“Navarre has given me and my business so much, that I am blessed to have been able to help out a family who deserves and needs it. I feel it is important to do what I can to support and give back to my local community,” said Lecaroz, who owns America’s Mattress in Navarre.
Ritchey said he could definitely see the hand of God in the effort. “This started 2,000 years ago with Christ,” he said.
Another local faith-based organization, Waterfront Rescue Mission, is also helping those in need.
“Thanksgiving means that Waterfront Rescue Mission is going to feed about 1,000 people, said Paul Stadden, spokesman for the local nonprofit.
“There are so many people that don’t have any other option on that holiday. They call the street their home and don’t have family. We want to be that friend and family for them.”
But Waterfront Rescue Mission isn’t just there during the holidays. This year to date, the organization has served more than 134,000 meals, according to Stadden.
“Waterfront Rescue Mission serves people every single day. We don’t just serve on holidays and disappear. We continuously help homeless men and women,” Stadden said.
However, the organization relies on community support. “Waterfront Rescue Mission only exists because of private donations,” Stadden said, pointing out they’re facing a $255,000 budget shortfall, which he says equates to 1,200 meals.
“We still have a big need for Christmas,” said Stadden, noting the organization needs ham donations. “What we ask people to do if donating food is bring it immediately to Waterfront Rescue Mission, or call us and let us know you have some food, and we’ll schedule a pick up.”
In addition to serving daily meals and providing shelter, the mission also has career development and recovery program. “We exist not as a hand out but a hand up,” Stadden said. “Our desire is to see people come out of the cycles of addiction, abuse and feelings of worthlessness. To let them know that not only do you matter but also you can do things that make a difference”
Monetary donations to the mission can be made via www. waterfrontmission.org