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Gerald Lawson: the volunteer coordinating volunteers

Hunger is a prominent problem in several local communities, but many people in the community, like Gerald Lawson, dedicate their lives to helping people who are less fortunate.

"Gerald Lawson makes it happen," said Peggy Radcliffe, the woman who nominated Lawson for our "Pay it Forward" surprise. Lawson has been the director of the Hamilton County Baptist Care Center for more than eight years. It is a completely volunteer position. Radcliffe said Lawson takes care of everything and it would take four or five other people to do what he does on a regular basis.

In addition to coordinating volunteers, organizing records, and keeping the food bank full, Radcliffe said Lawson would, "mop the floor and clean the toilet if he had to."

The ministry in connection with United Way 211 helps feed people in Hamilton County. They give out boxes of food put together through the Chattanooga Food Bank, local grocery stores, and donations. According to Radcliffe, more than 10-thousand people were fed last year through the center.

Gerald Lawson is a volunteer who coordinates volunteers.

We take our $500 Pay it Forward surprise and sneak up on Lawson who is in his office.

"Gerald Lawson, on behalf of NewsChannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, the NewsChannel 9 Pay it Forward has $500 for you," said Radcliffe. Almost immediately, Lawson gives all the credit away.

"The volunteers here are the backbone of this ministry, it's not me," said Lawson. He explained that once the family or individual person calls United Way 211, they receive a code number. This number helps volunteers know how much food to pack.

"We have a lot of 'ones' and families that go up to eight," said Lawson. He went on to say they pack all kinds of food--everything from veggies to rice to oatmeal, and of course a few treats.

"Can't live on good food all the time... got to have a little junk food!" said Lawson.

Radcliffe and the rest of the volunteers said it is Lawson's high spirts, organization, and faith that keep the ministry going strong.

"We run short on food sometimes and I get panic stricken. Why? I don't know, but I always do. Usually within a day or two, somebody will come knock on the door and have a whole pick up truck of food," said Lawson.


Do you know someone like Gerald Lawson? Nominate your unsung hero for our Pay it Forward surprise by filling out this nomination form.

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