On Monday, Dec. 10, the folks at St. Andrews By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Destin were moved and blessed by a surprise gift. When Father Barry Crow and the Monday crew who prepare hot meals for the needy arrived they found the kitchen counter was filled with much needed food for the food pantry — canned vegetables, soups, stews, macaroni and cheese, stuffing mix, breads, fresh fruit and ground beef.

With it all was a note:

“Paying it forward …

In 2006 and ’07 the woman who works in the front office (Kate) treated me with love and respect when I couldn’t do as much for myself. I have never forgotten her and am finally able to give in return. Please share this food with someone or several people like me. Bless their lives as mine was and has been. Not only did she bless me, but the church allowing Narcotics Anonymous to come inside saved my life on New Year’s Eve in 2006.

There is a purpose!

Much love,

One of His”

And the wish was granted. That very day St. Andrew’s filled food bags for 14 people, including elderly and families with children and teenagers.

Through November this year St. Andrew’s has provided 985 bags of food for 1,140 people. They are helped in this effort by the senior Sunday school class at the Destin United Methodist Church. Food and cash donations are always welcome.

In addition to the food pantry, St. Andrew’s provides hot showers (1,558 through November), bag lunches (2,153), the hot Monday lunches (997) and bicycles (199) for transportation. New and used bikes as well as bicycle parts also are always needed, and with the cold approaching, sleeping bags are also often requested.

If you would like to donate or learn more about St. Andrew’s ministries, you may call 850-650-2737. The church is at 307 Harbor Boulevard (U.S. 98) in Destin.