By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — December is a time to reflect on the year and the things that have happened to us. For one Trussville woman, it is also a time to give back to those who put their lives on the line for people every day.
Beverly Elders Cross gathers members of the community every year, to feed the Trussville Police Department and Trussville Fire and Rescue, for the first three weekends in December. Cross said it all started after she realized the men and women in blue were not always appreciated as much as she saw fit.
“I just wanted to do something to let our local heroes know that we appreciated them and all they do for us every day,” said Cross. “I thought the holiday season is the perfect time to show our appreciation for them.”
So, she began reaching out to the public on social media. She had 12 people help her for the first year.
The goal is to gather enough food to feed employees of both departments all weekend. Cross said four years after the effort began, the goal is usually met.
“Sometimes it takes a lot of begging and pleading but we have a great community and I’m so very thankful to those who are willing to step up and help,” she explained.
This year, Cross said she had a positive start to the gathering of items. After a donor gave $50 last year, after the food was already purchased, Cross saved the money to buy paper products this year.
“It was nice having that to start this year out with,” Cross said.
Some local restaurants have also donated to the cause and some local businesses have also donated money to help purchase items. Cross said she goes to the grocery store every Friday night to purchase anything that is needed to complete the meal.
The food is delivered to the Trussville Police Training Facility at City Hall on the first three Saturdays of December. Along with the positive feeling of giving back, Cross said she has met great people along the way. The kind of people who think of others before themselves.
“I truly believe we are all here to serve others,” said Cross. “When you serve others you are serving God. When I say my prayers, I always ask God to put me in a position to be a blessing to someone else. I’m thankful I get to be a blessing to our local heroes every year with the help of so many wonderful people.”
With two more weekends to go this year, Cross hopes more community members will pitch in and give back.
“We need everything from meats, sides, casseroles, bread, desserts, etc. You don’t have to stay and do anything; just drop it off. I’ll even come out to your car and get it from you,” Cross offered.
Although every year is special for Cross, she said this year is a little closer to her heart. A lifelong friend of Cross died in August. Retired police officer Gary Lambert inspired Cross.
“So, this year, every Saturday I have Gary in my thoughts and in my heart when I’m getting this together for his fellow brothers and sisters in the law enforcement,” Cross said. “He loved what he did and in his passing it just makes me want to do even more for those like him.”
Cross said if anyone is unable to bring the food, she will pick it up and bring it for them the day before delivery.
The biggest need is on the third Saturday of December. That is the weekend where Cross strives to feed all first responders and their families.
Cross asks that food is brought to the training facility between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. It needs to be hot and ready to eat.
For more information, you can contact Cross through Facebook Messenger.