LIMA — When you’re a father who is unable to work because of cancer, the holiday season can be overwhelming.
That’s the case with Lima resident Emmanuel Flowers, whose plight caught the attention of community members.
The Gospel Tabernacle Seventh-Day Adventist Church congregation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Community Action Program teamed up with 6th Ward Councilman Derry Glenn to spread Christmas cheer at the Flowers household on Wednesday.
“Between his cancer diagnosis and the threat of COVID-19, it’s been challenging times for Mr. Flowers,” said Patricia Freeman, a volunteer and friend of the participants.
That’s why several Good Samaritans visited the Flowers’ home to deliver bountiful bags of food, dairy items, toys – along with a positive message voiced by Glenn, who arrived in the form of Santa Claus.
“We pray for you,” he told Flowers, who was diagnosed with diffuse B-cell lymphoma on Oct. 1. “And we thank everyone who helped with this project.”
His mother Elizabeth was brought to tears by the team effort and the assortment of gifts.
Flowers has in effect gone from working as a machine operator, from which he was laid off, to receiving chemotherapy treatments in Columbus three times a week.
“It’s hard for my body to fight it,” explained the mild-mannered Flowers, who has a 2-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.
Beforehand, Glenn explained his mindset and why he wanted to be a part of the endeavor.
“I’m a community person and heard from a neighbor that Mr. Flowers needed help due to a long-term illness,” he said. “I spoke to people about donating and offering assistance. That’s what we do — reach out and help.”
Also on hand Wednesday was Michael Hayden, a local Big Brother who is mentoring young men and sought a suitable project on which to collaborate. “I contacted Derry to ask how I could lend a hand,” Hayden said, adding that he didn’t personally know the Flowers family.
Hayden described getting local residents to work together, which he often did for the United Way, as a “tremendous” feeling.
“I’m involved with this effort to teach young men in terms of giving back. They can have fun, but I want them to think broader and be contributors. That was my biggest motivation,” he said.
Although unable to visit the Flowers home, Freeman said via telephone that she was thinking about the family and gave a shout-out to Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It doesn’t have many members, she explained, but their spirit and willingness to pitch in persevered.
“It’s not always big numbers that create power, it’s the attitude about giving and helping,” she said.
Reach James Luksic at 567-242-0399.