Bags of love

By Chase Jordan

June 25, 2014

GARLAND – With a colorful marker and stencil, Ellen Cruickshank concentrated as she decorated a tote bag as others observed.

After she was finished, the bag said “Smile God Loves You.”

The 7-year-old was one of 21 volunteers from the Eastern Baptist Association (EBA) who visited the Garland Multi-Purpose Senior Citizens Center Wednesday. Cookies were also made for the seniors.

“It’s nice,” said 87-year-old Anna Murphy about Ellen’s handiwork and the volunteers.

Donna Landes, church and ministries director at the EBA, said the organization is also making prayer blankets and health kits, and baking for emergency officials in nearby communities.

“It’s three days of serving others in our community,” Landes said.

According to EBA, the organization’s mission is to “assist churches in reaching their communities for Christ, equipping individuals to use their unique gifts and sending out people empowered to make an eternal impact.”

For disaster situations, the EBA is part of a Long Term Recovery Group, which is made up of representatives from agencies, churches and denominations.

Marie Faircloth, director of the senior center, said she was excited about the group coming to Garland.

“It shows us how compassionate the Baptist Association is and how concerned they are about people in the community, especially the aging population,” Faircloth said.

Ellen’s grandmother, Cheryl, said it’s wonderful to help people. Her 10-year-old granddaughter also volunteered. She said they enjoy helping other others.

“We’re studying at home how to use our hands to help and how God uses his hand to help us with whatever we do,” Cheryl said.