Love’s Grove United Methodist Church will host dinner. Here is who it will benefit.

Published 10:49 am Monday, January 23, 2023

Love’s Grove United Methodist Church in Stanfield will host a spaghetti dinner 4-7 p.m. Saturday to raise money for the families of Ralph and Jean Barnes and Tony and Shirley Whitley.

All proceeds raised will go to help the two families with their home healthcare expenses.

The idea originated from the church, specifically Senior Pastor Jim White, according to Kim Page, a daughter of the Whitleys.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Page said about the effort to help her family and the Barneses. “I’m not shocked because we live in a community that is so supportive. It is such a blessing to know that somebody cares enough.

“My parents have done a lot and given a lot to the community and you don’t do it expecting to get something back,” she added. “You just truly know that your neighbors love and care for you when this kind of thing is put together to try and help you in a time of need. It’s what we as humans are supposed to do.”

Shirley Whitley, a former educator at Stanfield Elementary, has dealt with numerous ailments in recent years, including breast cancer, a stroke and needing to have open heart surgery, said Page, who left her principal position at West Stanly High to take care of her mother, who is now wheelchair-bound.

“It’s the multiple medical expenses because honestly, once you get sick with one thing you never get it paid off,” Page said. “It’s just been one thing on top of another and you can’t just get caught up.”

Whitley is still in good spirits — “she is as sharp as a tack,” Page said,  and the plan is for her to try and attend the dinner in person. That is also the day she will turn 78. Page has started a campaign to try and collect 78 birthday cards from people in the community. She said people are welcome to bring cards to the event.

“We’re just trying to get birthday cards from people who know her and people from all over for her to have on her birthday,” Page said.

The dinner, which is dine in or take out, also includes bread, salad and a homemade dessert.

Love’s Grove is at 4360 Polk Ford Road in Stanfield.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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