Van gift gives family a lift

Melonie McLaurin | Daily Journal Voyner McDonald and the Rev. James Ross of Love Joy Chapel await the arrival of Rachel White to pick up her 2002 Dodge Caravan filled with food and goods for her and her children.

Melonie McLaurin | Daily Journal Voyner McDonald and Rachel White turn toward the donated van after White put her signature on the title.

ROCKINGHAM — Rachel White and her children once faced the daily struggle of not having reliable transportation, but thanks to a blessing from God through the Ashley Chapel Community Center and Feed a Family Center, she is the grateful owner of a 2002 Dodge Caravan.

The Rev. James Ross, pastor of Love Joy Chapel and president of the community center said he hopes this will be “only the beginning” of great things to come as a result of cooperative efforts of the two centers.

“Sometimes, the people we choose to help may be members of the congregation,” Ross said. “Rachel is from my congregation and we just saw the need. Others we hear about through people talking. But we are planning more things like this.”

Ross said the community center will serve as the base for students to come and get meals over the summer months while school is out.

“We are going to get the elderly back involved, too,” Ross said. “A lot of times the elderly feel like they are forgotten or have just been thrown away. This used to be a place they were very active. They just need to feel loved.”

Ross, along with Sister Debra Douglas and Arthur and Voyner McDonald agreed to donate the van to White. Ross and Voyner McDonald were at the Ashley Chapel Community Center on 297 Mizpah Road, ready to make good on their promise at 1 p.m. Friday. White arrived shortly afterward.

The sound that White made upon seeing the van, filled with food and drinks for her and her children, was not a word. It was a musical note like the exclamation of a choir angel and her smile completed the song.

“I thank God,” White said. “Thank you, Father! Yay!”

“How can you beat God’s blessings?” McDonald said.

White’s answer was another angelic note, a musical expression of a “feeling no human tongue has words to describe.”

After signing the title, White was escorted to the passenger side of her van where McDonald’s nephew, LaArthur Gould opened the door for her to get in.

“LaArthur’s her chauffeur today,” McDonald said.

Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.