HARVEST, Ala. — March's Neighborhood Hero Pat Pope knows a thing or two about serving others.
In fact, she's involved in a community of people who also have servant hearts; Pat Pope just happens to be a friend to them all.
"She was here the first Saturday that we [House of Harvest] opened and stood in that doorway right over there, where everyone came in, just in tears because she was so moved by, you know, seeing this facility open in our community," said House of Harvest Director, Adam Walker.
Through the House of Harvest, a local food pantry located in Harvest, Alabama, this month's Neighborhood Hero, Pat Pope, learned that we truly never know what our neighbors and loved ones are going through.
"I was here [House of Harvest] on the first day, and I went of course, to the wrong place first. And I was here and I saw neighbors and people I work with who needed to be fed and I felt so guilty... I thought why didn't I know that? They were my neighbors... Why didn't I know they needed something?" said Pope.
Pope's servant heart was beating even before House of Harvest opened its doors.
Pope had been building relationships through service for years.
"Actually, my son went to church with Pat Pope, and I'm a breast cancer survivor. And we was having dinner at my house and my son says, and they played flag football... and he said, 'We ought to do a flag football tournament for a cause!' And he said, 'What about breast cancer?' Then Mike [Lisa's son] went to church the next day and saw Pat Pope and she said, 'Hey, I know Walter Jones. We can get him involved and we can do a turkey bowl.' So, that's how the turkey bowl actually started." said House of Harvest Volunteer, Lisa Parvin.
"12 years ago in my little church, Lisa's son [Mike] turned to me and he said, 'Pat, I've got a great idea for a fundraiser. If we can get Big Walt on board... and it took off and that was 12 years ago... That was 12 years ago," said Pope.
One of those years created change within the very place that helped change Pope's perspective.
"One year we raised over $50,000 and I said that's our freezer money, that's our freezer money. Adam ordered all these freezers and these are our freezers from Pat Pope and the turkey bowl," said Parvin.
Among all of these relationships, a community has been built with Pat Pope being a common denominator among most of those relationships.
"You just don't know that there are people out there that are suffering, you know? A lot of times we think homeless people or hungry people are people out on the street. A lot of people got homes, working a job, but just can't afford to feed their kids. So, you always want to do that... You don't want kids to go home and starve and be at home starving. So that's how it all got started for us and that's why we all kind of work together and do the things that we do. Because that's what we want to do. We want to help that person that's in need." said B2EDi Founder and fellow House of Harvest volunteer, Walter Jones.
Because of the support of this small community of servants, Pat Pope has the strength to go out and selflessly serve others.
"I know that all I have ever had to do is pick up the phone and call... Call Lisa, call Big Walt, call Adam, my problems are solved. That's not the same for the rest of these children," said Pope.
Pope was then asked if she is a Neighborhood Hero because other people have been Neighborhood Heroes to her in the past, she answered, "Absolutely, we have got to show the love."
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