ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — Wendy Meredith is in her element when connecting with people. She teaches the expanded food nutrition education program for the Escambia County Extension Office.
Her travels take her to senior citizen and neighborhood community centers and rehab facilities. She teaches about good food for their bodies, but she provides nourishment for their souls; "Limited income families or individuals just trying to get ahead and a new start on life."
When she started this journey six years ago, she was quickly pulled into something that was far beyond any written job description. She observed and listened to those who came to her classes and she took it upon herself to respond.
"I see a lot of people with need. They have to get jobs, they don't have clothing. So, I'm like, I can get clothes out of my closet. I can go to my church. I can ask people to donate. I want to make sure they have clothes, so they can have interviews,” she explained.
Philip Camarda was in a difficult place when he found himself in Wendy's class. He says it was a chance encounter that changed his life; "I didn't have a place to live at the time because I had just been looking to move into Pensacola and she reached out to a friend of hers - a place to live. I didn't have furniture in my house or anything like that and she went straight to her storage unit and pulled out one of her old couches out of there and had it brought to me with her and one of her friends."
Philip is but one of countless dozens Wendy has reached out to help. She doesn't hesitate to call upon her friends, co-workers, or church members to get whatever is needed.
Wendy tearfully recalls her own dark days, "At one time in my life I was down and out. I was a young widow with two little kids. If it hadn't been for the community rallying around me and helping me, encouraging me to continue, I don't know where I would be."
To her, it may be repaying a debt of gratitude - but, to others, she's an Angel passing on a blessing.
Philip says, "I think that God just installed this immensely huge heart within her that she can't help it. It's almost as if it's instinctive for her to go ahead and reach out and try to find what she can do to help better that person's life."
Wendy seems to agree that it's a divine calling, "God has always put this desire in my heart and gave me this passion to just help people. I just feel like that's what we're here to do."
Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Anderson Subaru.