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Church assists families

COAL GROVE – Lillian Slaughter and her husband Marion began helping people on a small scale five years ago.

Sunday, October 24, 1999

COAL GROVE – Lillian Slaughter and her husband Marion began helping people on a small scale five years ago.

But their desire to give assistance to those who were struggling financially grew, and two years ago, Mrs. Slaughter got her church involved.

Hundreds of T-shirts, shorts and sweaters lined the walls of the Coal Grove Church of the Nazarene Saturday. All items were free to those who felt they needed a helping hand as part of the church’s second Make a Difference Day, Mrs. Slaughter said.

"Everything’s free," she said. "We have lunch, and face painting for kids. I do this because I worked for 22 years at the Social Security building and ran into people who fell in between the cracks. We don’t look to see how much people make before helping here. We help anyone who feels like they need it."

In 45 minutes, more than 60 families passed through the church’s doors, Mrs. Slaughter said. And that is what makes the project worth the effort, she said.

"My husband always says if he would win the lottery, he would open a soup kitchen," Mrs. Slaughter said. "He worries about the poor people."

And so does the church, pastor Carl Graham said.

"It’s a good ministry for the church," Graham said. "And this is what the church is for. When a church fails to minister to the community, it fails to be a church – it becomes an organization."

The congregation supports the church’s community endeavors with both donated items and time, Graham added.

There were more than 25 volunteers at the event and parishioners had gathered clothing items for the giveaway for the past three months, Mrs. Slaughter said.

Lila French has attended the church for the past 38 years, and tries to volunteer her time at any church-sponsored function.

"I do it to help people and to be a good neighbor," Mrs. French said. "If you do good for other people, they’ll do good for you."

And there is never a time when a volunteer would be turned away, she added.

"There’s quite a few people who do volunteer, but I think there are plenty more that could," Mrs. French said. "It makes a difference."

It’s never too late or too early to begin making a difference, either, 12-year-old Jimmy Pommell added.

"Some people need clothes and stuff like that," Pommell said. "And they can come here and get the clothes. It’s a good thing."

Jimmy helped organize the toy donations.

"I feel like I’m helping someone," he said. "Others could help, too, because it helps the community."

As part of the church’s ministry, the youth group also will be helping senior citizens this week, Mrs. Slaughter said.

Anyone who needs yard work done or gutters cleaned out can call Jim Kearns at 532-1424, she said.