Debbie Brasher said her daughter, Smantha, has a big heart. If she sees a need, she wants to meet it.
And over the past year that desire has only increased.
“It stems from her wanting to adopt a child,” said Brasher, who noted Smantha, 29, has high-functioning autism. “I tried to explain to her how expensive it was and that it takes a lot to adopt or foster a child.”
But Smantha knew she wanted to do whatever she could to help children in need. So Brasher suggested she meet with a local judge to talk about it, and the judge suggested Smantha could help children who were in the Department of Human Resources system.
“So she decided to do a toy drive at Christmas to collect toys for kids in foster care,” Brasher said. “She did everything on her own — made t-shirts, got people to bring snacks for snack bags and recruited people to donate toys.”
“They designated a room at DHR for Smantha because her toy drive filled that room up with toys.”
Now Smantha is collecting school supplies and other items for backpacks to give to children in need at the beginning of the fall semester.
‘Desire to help’
Dave Burns, Smantha’s pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Prattville, said she has a “real desire to help.”
“Several times she’s taken initiative for raising funds and raising food for the underprivileged. She’s amazing. She looks for opportunities to serve,” he said. “She has her challenges, but she doesn’t let her challenges hinder her from serving the Lord.”
Smantha’s initiative has given others in the church an opportunity to serve, Burns said. “She’ll put a box out (for donations) and the church will fill it up pretty quickly.”
Brasher said Smantha “loves to volunteer, and this is her way to give back to the community,” noting Burns and other friends have been very supportive.
“I tell her, ‘You’ve got fire in your soul and grace in your heart,’” Brasher said. “We’re so proud of her and everything she does. She’s got a big heart.”