Steve Chittock

Finding charity and love at the Farmers Market at the fairgrounds

The Saturday morning Farmers Market at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds is an interesting place to shop, and we enjoy patronizing the local farmers and creative vendors. But to meet people there who contributed their hand-made knitted wares to help the impoverished people of the Mississippi Delta, perhaps the poorest people in the country, was beyond our expectations.

That is just what happened one Saturday morning in July. Among our purchases that morning were some knitted woolen hats made by members of the Redwoods Family Worship Center. While my wife was selecting several of the hats, we heard the volunteer managing the booth talking to another shopper. She said that with the money earned from the sale of the hats, the center would purchase yarn so members could make warm afghans for the needy to help keep them warm during the cold winters.

One of the places where they gave away these afghans was a village in Mexico. We then asked if they would consider helping the poor in the Mississippi Delta. There my wife and I have initiated a project in four Mississippi Delta counties raising funds to pay to pay for the minimum clothing and papers and pencils to allow destitute children to attend school. We also gather donations of clothing and toys for Christmas for the needy residents.

After hearing our story, without hesitation, the woman managing the booth scooped up a row of hats for us to give to the needy Delta people. After we left the booth to shop elsewhere, she chased after us with a number of the smaller hats, saying, "I am sure that the infants there need hats too." And that was it. She did not try to proselytize (we are Jewish) nor give us any religious literature. To us it was not just charity, but also a pure act of love.

As one of our colleagues, a member of the Christ Presbyterian Church of Oxford, Miss., told us, "We are helping because that is what God wants us to do."

Howard and Sylvia Lenhoff

Crescent City and Oxford, Miss.