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ALTUS, Okla. (KFOR) – Twice a week, Morgan Young or someone on the staff at Altus First United Methodist gathers a few items from a storage room at the church.
Each box contains a little food, something to keep warm, and a few personal items like toilet paper or razor blades.
Young started the Blessing Boxes program here in 2017, but keeping four wooden boxes full, each scattered around the city, quickly became a full-time church challenge when a pandemic took hold last spring.
She recalls, “When the pandemic hit we saw an increased need. People would come to our doors just asking for help.”
So our story turns to a retired architect who sits in the congregation every Sunday.
“As long as I can keep going,” he smiles.
Larry Davis got pretty good at architectural renderings as a working man.
He started in with pencil drawing of animals to pass the time in retirement.
Davis recalls being up late one night.
He couldn’t sleep, and that’s when the idea hit.
“I thought, why can’t I at least volunteer my hobby to support the Blessing Boxes?”
So began a unique kind of ministry in Altus.
He and Morgan came up with a $50.00 minimum donation for a personal 8×10 pet portrait based on a picture.
For more information about Blessing Boxes or Davis’ pet portraits go to the church Facebook page.
“I had no idea what to expect,” says Davis.
“I expected that was something that people in our community would respond well to,” counters Young.
The idea caught on.
Larry had to buy a new pencil set to keep up with demand.
The church still spends $1,000 a month keeping their Blessing Boxes full.
Owning a Davis original raised more than $2,000 of that just since last fall.
“You do what you can,” he says. “I think God gives us all certain abilities and we’re supposed to use them the best we can to help where we can.”
Who knew a few funny animal pictures might have a value beyond the owner of the dog or cat.
But it’s clear to people here that God had a hand, or paw, in it all along.