GREENFIELD — Charles Dillon opens the back of the truck. A pile of white plastic shopping bags, each tied at the top, is nearing the roof. Look inside them, and you’ll see they’re filled with toys.
This pile is what’s been gathered into the truck after two previous truckfuls were unloaded.
At first he appears to have spent his day power shopping, but he said these toys, one or a bunch at a time, have come from other people. And while the sight can elicit a gasp from a spectator, he’s not really surprised.
Everyone has some amount of good in them, he said, but “unfortunately, during this time of year, you see more of it,” and maybe not so much the rest of the year.
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Dillon, founder of Carpentershouse Global Ministries, could tell other stories like that. One is about free windows to restore a storm-ravaged house in Alabama. Another is about a crane company that doesn’t do weekends but later shows up, on a weekend, to do work that will help a Henryville couple rebuild after a tornado. The crane operator ends up not collecting the weekend rate, or any rate, just asks for gas money.
Through the years, Dillon’s travels have wound from New Orleans to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Greenfield, with the length of time spent in those and other places determined by where he feels God is telling him to remain or to go.
Dillon tends to be a catalyst, said Jim Peters, executive director of Love INC of Greater Hancock County. He’s someone who moves into a community, helps ministries get started, and then goes to replicate them someplace else, Peters said.
Dillon is transitioning to work in Missouri next, though ministries he has started here continue, and he hopes to keep Carpentershouse based here. In a few days, he hopes to be back for the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen’s third annual Christmas Eve celebration, an event that outgrew the soup kitchen and takes place at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Anyone in need is welcome to come for food and gifts for the children. That’s why Dillon’s truck is full of toys.
The stories are about toys gathered. Homes built or rebuilt. Groceries delivered to a trailer park. Warm clothes handed out in cold weather. Christians mobilized to do it all, and — most importantly, Dillon says — a God who provides.
“God gives you what you need,” he said. “It ain’t about me. It’s all about him.
“I’m just a sinner named Charles.”
Twenty years ago, the name of his sin was addiction. Dillon said he was heavy into drugs and alcohol, but he points to a moment in 1995 when he asked God to take that from him, “and he did.”
Ten years later, Dillon had a job he liked in South Carolina, where he was marketing director for a timeshare company. In August 2005, he was one of many Americans gripped by images of Hurricane Katrina slamming New Orleans. His pastor,
Carpentershouse Global and Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen are accepting donations of clothing, toys and personal items until Tuesday.
Unwrapped gifts may be dropped off at Carpentershouse Global, 5677 W. County Road 300N in Greenfield (Mt. Comfort); Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, 202 E. Main St. in Greenfield, or Couch’s Truck and Auto Center, 3301 N. County Road 600W, Greenfield (Mt. Comfort).
The items will be used at the soup kitchen’s third-annual Christmas Eve event. The first such event took place at the soup kitchen, when more than 1,400 people came through the facility’s doors. It’s been moved to the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, where this year’s event will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Volunteers are needed in several different areas. Organizers hope everyone who attends has someone to shower them with attention to give them a very special day.
From 8 to 10 a.m., organizers ask for parents only to come in to receive a toy and two surprises for each child. Volunteers will wrap the gifts for you to take home and put under your tree.
Everyone returns at 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. to receive clothing, enjoy a Christmas meal and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Anyone in need is welcome.