The Holiday Season is upon us and soon the cold weather will be too.
Kelly McLaren and Ron Goodwin of First Baptist Church are partnering with Good Shepherd Mission to hand out bibles and blankets for the third year in their Bibles and Blankets program. The program distributes the items to low-income families in Walker County during the week of Thanksgiving.
“Kelly has a big heart,” Goodwin said. “We were working at the mission years ago. She got cold, and recommended we get some blankets and start handing them out. I had the idea to hand out the bibles along with the blankets with the help of other churches. It led to the network and connections we needed to start the program.”
Blankets for the program are donated by generous members of the community. Some bibles come from distributors, while others are donated by local churches, including Elkins Lake Baptist Church and Calvary Christian Church. American Legion has also been a great help, program operators say.
“It all started as it got cold and we realized people in low-income areas needed blankets,” Goodwin added. “We approached people in neighborhoods that churches didn’t reach. Then it progressed into getting the churches involved in these areas. Eventually it led to us choosing leadership in the communities to guide and direct children away from negative influences.”
For the first time, Bibles and Blankets will collaborate with Highway Patrol. The idea is for the troopers to go into certain areas and hand blankets to the needy. The hope is to ease tensions between police and some disenfranchised people.
“We hope eventually once more blankets are given to troopers they will pull someone over and instead of a ticket, they’re given a blanket,” Goodwin said. “It would be great to build relationships between low-income communities. Instead of fear when one sees flashing red and blue lights, they feel safe.”
The program hopes to expand their work with the Troopers and bring joy to those given the items. The community is welcomed and encouraged to volunteer their time or donate blankets to the program. It is truly a community effort.
“We want to reach out and get everyone involved,” Goodwin added. “This is the time of year to give back to others and be thankful for all we have and pass it on. Our ultimate goal is to bring the community together and fulfill a need in our community.”
Donations can be received Nov. 12-15, with items being handed out the following day. They can be dropped off at First Baptist Church Huntsville.