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A December to remember; cherishing the spirit of giving

Written by Tanya Terry

Valleria Rich of Flint recently made a sacrifice for her 71-year-old mom, who had peripheral vascular disorder, in what she considers was in the spirit of the holidays. Instead of getting car repairs done to her own car, which were badly needed, she purchased her mother, who lost her left leg and is a new amputee, a deep freezer. Rich said she went to the store and it was within the divine timing of the Lord. She was at Walmart in Burton and saw deep freezers being brought out. One didn’t have a box. Since it had always been Rich’s dream to purchase a deep freezer and fill it up with groceries for her mom, she purchased that one. It made Rich’s heart happy to bless her mother in this way, and it made her mother happy to know she didn’t have to worry about how she would get to the grocery store.

“Actually every day we should have the spirit of the holiday because I’m in Public Health; I’m studying for my Bachelor of Science in Public Health and making sure that the community as a whole are taken care of; basic needs, food, fresh drinking water with what we’re going through with the lead and the COVID and for certain people with disabilities who can’t get out of their homes and for certain people who don’t have transportation, and I think it should be like this every day and not just a one-time deal,” Rich said. “Everybody should have what they need when they need it because it’s part of public health for the people who need it the most.”

Rich said she learned from her mother to be charitable, to treat everybody the way she wants to be treated, to be a giver and to walk in forgiveness and love. Rich works in collaboration with the St. Francis Prayer Center. She is able to pick up groceries and deliver them to people who can’t get them themselves. Some of the people she delivers to are blind, amputees, don’t have transportation or elderly. Since there are so many people Rich services with disabilities, Rich feels she has a special calling from God to help the disabled.

The mission of the St. Francis Prayer Center, which is on Carpenter Road, reads: Secure in God’s Love, the St. Francis Prayer Center, Flint, exists to serve all people, especially our poor, our parishes and our diocese, through the ministries of prayer, evangelization, healing and formation, direct services and social justice. Although Rich wishes she would one day be able to donate a monetary gift to the center, she feels fortunate to be able to do what the mission statements says to do.

According to the nonprofit organization’s website; currently they have an Adopt-A-Family Program twice a year serving 12-15 families each time. Daily, they help provide help with food, clothing, furniture, diapers and utilities.

Rich has been working with the center for the past 18 years, and delivered to six families this holiday season. The food boxes consist of fruits, vegetables, canned goods, potatoes, juices, crackers and meat such as meatballs, shrimp, chicken, sausage and hamburger. Last month, for Thanksgiving, the center provided those in need with turkeys. Each time Rich delivers food boxes, she enjoys seeing the happy faces of the recipients.

“They know somebody cares.”

St. Francis Prayer Center receives donations from community members and partners which allow them to continue serving the community.

Meanwhile, Rich said she is preparing for her household’s own holiday celebration.

“I’ve got my vanilla candle lit. My son says it smells like cake. We don’t have a Christmas tree but we do have lights in our window. My son is 18 now. So, we don’t get into the Christmas tree too much anymore. I think we’re going to continue staying safe in collaboration with social devices like the cell phone because of my mom. I had her in urgent care, she had strep throat and I didn’t want her cooking with strep throat. So, I told her just save all the food for the next holiday round until she gets better. I think it is safer to stay at home and talk on the phone.”

Rich said her mother does not know how to use Zoom.

Rich said she plans to continue delivering food boxes in the future to bless others once she gets her car fixed as she is lead by the Holy Ghost.

During the interview with the Flint Courier News, she got a call from a non-profit organization who gave her the money to fix her own vehicle. Quoting, I Samuel 15:22 she said ‘obedience is better than sacrifice.’

“God is good.”

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