MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2001
is crazy to most normal human beings, but why be normal?
God tells you to do something you’ve just got to do it”
Joan Gieson, whose family
an annual Christmas
dinner for the
Shawn Mack loads groceries into her car Sunday at
the Gleson family’s 35th mual Christmas dinner at Normandy Middle
School. Mack said she was recently laid
off from her job. The Gieson family gives away about 100000 pounds of food at
10,000 people were expected at dinner
BY Elizabethe HOLLAND
Of the Poet-Dispatch
lining long tables gobbled up ham, mostaccioli and Chinese food, and
Santa Claus listened to wishes that probably wouldn’t come true,
10-year-old Joanie Lillie navigated the
hubbub while holding hands with her new charge.
Her charge Was
a 40-year-old woman Joame had met while
answering the phone for her grandmother’s ministry. The woman seemed
oblivious to the ruckus surrounding her Sunday at Normandy Middle
holiday music, children in search of free toys, mothers wondering where
to pick up blankets and boxes of free groceries.
The woman, who
asked that her name not be used, had plenty to fret about, as did many of
the thousands of people who came Sunday to the Joan Gieson family’s
35th annual Christmas dinner for the needy. But for one day, she seemed
too touched to care about the reasons that had brought her there.
beautiful, really, for the people who honestly need it, the people who
just fell on hard times,” said the woman, who recently lost her job and
home. “It’s a blessing that someone would look deep down in their
hearts to help those who need.”
See Giesons, C2
it through season
her case, the most outstand-mg example of this was Joanie,
who when answering the phone for Joan Gieson Ministries of Love said she
would write a note alongside the woman’s name, asking her grandmother
and others to pray for her. When the woman showed up Sunday with her
3-year-old son for the event,
directions to Joanie were clear.
want you to help your homeless friend,” she said, star-big intently into
Joanie’s eyes. “I want you to walk her
through the system and give her anything she wants.”
Sunday marked the first Gieson Christmas dinner the woman had attended,
her story wasn’t unusual given the crowd there. Many of the dinner-goers
were regulars at the annual event. And many would be hard-pressed to put
Christmas dinners on their tables or give toys to their children were it
not for Gieson’s generosity —
ability to bring out charity
Gieson, of Bellerive Acres, was none too pleased to find that the business
she thought was going to provide chicken for the dinner had failed to
show, she was ecstatic over the thousands of pounds of food and drink that
area businesses had provided. And she was not the least bit concerned that
any of her anticipated 10,000 guests would go without.
halls are full, the cafeteria is full, the parking lot is full, the
street is full,” Gieson said. “But Jesus will provide.
“This is crazy to most
normal human beings, but why be normal?”
added. “If God tells you to do something, you’ve just got to do it.”
woman in Joanie’s care was just one example
of Gieson’s dedication and conviction. Her young son had a full tummy,
wore a beard of cake crumbs and frosting and had been given a toy to take
with him. Joanie, meanwhile, wore a small,
tin pin with a picture of an angel on it. The woman, her new friend, had
bought it for her.
will never forget ...
kindness and her encouragement,” the woman said. “And
she’s just 10 years old.”
Reporter Eu Holland: