Charity is the most excellent of virtues. It is the friendship of man with God manifested in the love of neighbor.
There’s a lot of ill will swirling around these days. The culture wars are in full swing. Politicians lie. There are wars and rumors of war.
And then there’s Hody Childress, a retired farmer from Geraldine, Alabama.
About 10 years ago, Childress walked into Geraldine Drugs and asked owner Brooke Walker if there were any families in town who couldn’t afford their medications, according to the Washington Post.
“I told him, ‘Yes, unfortunately, that happens often,’” Walker said. “And he handed me a $100 bill, all folded up.”
Childress told Walker to use it for anyone who couldn’t afford their prescriptions. He said, “Don’t tell a soul where the money came from. If they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from the Lord.”
Indeed. And that was just the beginning.
A month later, Childress returned to hand Walker another $100 bill. He repeated this every month for years.
Until late last year. Childress became too weak from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to make the trip.
Childress didn’t ask whether those in need were Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. He just gave some of the little money he had to those who were in need of medicine and couldn’t afford it.
In short, Hody Childress quietly made the world a better place.
Childress died on New Year’s Day at 80 years old.
Walker decided to let his family know about the donations that had helped several hundred people in the little farming community, according to the Post.
Tania Nix, Childress’ daughter, already knew. Her father had confided in her about his donations before his death. Nix was going to let people know about her father’s generosity at his funeral.
“He told me he’d been carrying a $100 bill to the pharmacist in Geraldine on the first of each month, and he didn’t want to know who she’d helped with it,” Nix told the Post. “He just wanted to bless people with it.”
Nix said her father was a humble man. He lived off a small retirement account and Social Security. Still, he never hesitated to help those in need.
“If what he did could touch one person and let them know there’s still goodness in the world, it’s worth it,” Nix continued. “It’s what my dad would have wanted.”
Anyone who hears about Childress’ story knows there is still goodness in the world.
Walker feels honored that Childress trusted her to do the right thing with his $100 bills, month after month.
“His kindness motivated me to be more of a compassionate person,” she told the Post. “He was just a good old guy who wanted to bless his community, and he certainly did. He established a legacy of kindness.”
People in Geraldine want to keep Childress’ legacy of charity alive now that he is gone. Waller said they drop by the drugstore with donations of their own.
“We’re calling it the Hody Childress Fund, and we’re going to keep it going as long as the community and Hody’s family want to keep it alive,” she said.
In a world filled with animosity and chaos, pausing to remember men like Childress does a soul good.
Good souls are charitable souls.
God bless you, Hody Childress.
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