Small Church Offers Big Help to Families in Need

Small Church Offers Big Help to Families in Need
By: Mike Shain

WAPPAPELLO, Mo. - Peggy Purl's husband died in May and she no longer has money to buy Christmas gifts for her grandchildren.
That didn't stop her from toy shopping Wednesday.  Peggy and her family went to church, Wappapello United Methodist Church, to shop for toys and pick up a food basket.
Along with warm hats, mittens, gloves and house slippers for youngsters, the church offers Wayne County residents a food pantry and clothes closet where they can shop for free.  And that's no small undertaking for a congregation of only 38.  
"We do it from the bottom of our hearts to help those who can't help themselves," said one church members.
he Methodists of Wappapello have big, sharing hearts.  They do get donations and the volunteer fire department pitches in to help.  All of it would seem to be part of a community spirit among the people who live in the lake area which is heavily dependent on recreation and tourism.
Wayne County is caught up in the national recession. 
"We've had a lot of layoffs," said church member Charlie Hoover. 
Hardest hit, she says, are those residents who work in construction.  
Last Christmas, 90 families requested food assistance for Christmas dinner.  This year the number is 167.  Each family gets a chicken, bread, stuffing and canned foods for all the trimmings.
Joyce Brewster tells Heartland News that if the church didn't help with its food pantry, "We'd have a lot of people starving.  I'm sure of it."
As he picked up his food, Brewster said his food stamp allotment a month is $33. 
Children smiled as they chose their three toys. 
Asked what she felt, Peggy Purl replied, "Thank you, and a Merry Christmas."