Arvetta Jeter: Taking care of strangers and stray animals

Ginny Murrell nominated her friend Arvetta Jeter for Pay It Forward. (Image: WTVC)

It can be tough for people who spend time behind bars to get back on their feet after being released from jail.

Sometimes they need housing, food, clothing, but more importantly, someone to treat them with respect.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn introduces us to a woman who makes it her mission to give all kinds of people a second chance.

This week's Pay It Forward takes us to Spring City. There you'll find a woman who takes in strangers and stray animals and gives them hope and a hot meal during their toughest times.

Arvetta Jeter is a jack of all trades. She cooks for the community at Open Door Fellowship in Spring City, helps build affordable housing for strangers, adopted 11 stray cats and drives inmates at the Rhea County Jail back and forth to work detail.

But that's not all, says Ginny Murrell. "We call her the coupon queen, because she can squeeze that nickel until she has a quarter, and it's amazing at how she can find help for everybody."

We met Ginny in the church parking lot and gave her $500. As we followed her inside, she told us Arvetta would certainly stretch that money much more than a mile. We caught her in the middle of making crafts for a children's play.

"Arvetta! You need to turn around. On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I want to pay it forward to you, so hold out your hand. 1, 2, 3, 4, $500 for all you do for the community, everyone you meet, everything that needs to be done, you've got a solution and you're willing to do it!" said Ginny.

"Thank you! I don't know what to say," said Arvetta.

Ironically, 20 minutes before we surprised Arvetta, these two men from Mississippi arrived at the church and asked Arvetta to support their faith-based ministry called The City of Refuge.

They're selling these hand-made crosses to help pay for a program that assists men battling addiction. Of course, Arvetta said yes, and offered them a free place to stay.

"Oh she's a blessing, a God-given gift," said Reagan Williams with The City of Refuge.

"Why is it that you sacrifice so much for sometimes complete strangers?" asked Jessica Harthorn.

"I think it's God, he puts it on my heart," said Arvetta.

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