When 70 or so of the descendents of the late Grady and Birdie Davis, of Madison County, met for their annual family reunion at the recreation department this year, they brought along more than the typical good food and family stories they always share – most also brought either a food donation or a monetary gift for the local food bank.
Sisters Jane Dove and Cynthia Jarrett thought of the idea, after Dove decided on a family story she wanted to share at the reunion about her grandmother Birdie, that her aunt Bet and her mother Lessie had told her.
When twins Bet and Lessie and their siblings were young, Dove said that it was common for the family to take a walk together. This particular day, they took a walk along the railroad tracks near where they lived at that time near Colbert. As they were walking along, the twins noticed that their mother was crying.
This disturbed both girls because it was rare indeed to see their mother cry, though it was tough times for the family and their neighbors because it was during the years of the Great Depression.
Food was scarce for most folks during those days and later on the girls found out that their mother had been crying, and praying, because on that particular day she had nothing to fix for supper.
But as they walked along, Birdie found a croaker sack filled with several small potatoes and a number of thick potato peelings that someone had evidently tossed from the train as it sped by.
Birdie gratefully picked up the sack and took the potatoes and thick peelings home and washed them, using them to provide a filling meal for her family.
“How this must have strengthened Birdie’s faith to know that God was watching out for her and her little family,” Dove said.
It was this story that inspired the sisters to encourage their family to bring items for those going through their own hard economic times right now.
The plan was a great success, with over 125 food items collected and with some family members writing checks directly to the food bank.
It proved such a success, the sisters want to make donating to a charity a new family tradition for their annual reunions, with different family members picking a local charity of their choice.
“We hope it inspires other families to do the same sort of thing,” Jarrett said. “It really feels good.”