LIVINGSTON— Former Center of Hope volunteer Patsy Wilson would have been pleased to see families in need receiving bags of oranges during the holidays.
Patsy's family decided to honor her after she passed Sunday. They are providing many in the area with one of her favorite memories.
"Growing up in Tyler, her favorite thing at Christmas time was she would get an orange," Patsy’s daughter-in-law Leigh Wilson said. "It was outside the means of her family's budget, but it was always their treasure at Christmas. She loved it and would always bring Cuties over here (to Center of Hope) at Christmas time."
The family decided to buy as many of the small oranges as possible, bringing them to Center of Hope for families to enjoy. They purchased 112 bags of Cuties from Walmart and 3,024 candy canes.
"We were actually thinking that maybe we would work with the Center of Hope and start an annual citrus drive for the mission Christmas time — the Patsy Wilson Citrus Drive," Leigh said.
Patsy retired in 2003 and volunteered at Center of Hope. She was part of move to the center's current location and is remembered as a compassionate person who helped others. Always involved in the community, her focus was preventing childhood hunger and spreading joy.
The family is asking that all expressions of sympathy for Patsy be sent to the Center of Hope to continue her legacy. They are challenging all who are able to help during the holidays.
"She had a heart for single parents struggling to feed their babies," daughter LaJuana Lattimore said of Patsy. "She made sure that every mother that needed food for her babies got it."
Patsy worked in food service in the Humble Independent School District for 37 years. She was a dietitian and constructed menus for school children.
"This is the way that we are expressing our grief for her, because this would just freak her out," Leigh said. "She would be like a kid in a candy store."
For families to receive donations by Christmas, the Center of Hope is asking that blessings of food or funds are submitted as soon as possible. The center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-3:30 p.m.
Those hoping to submit produce are encouraged drop off items at 12:30 p.m. for 1 p.m. distributions. Center of Hope serves approximately 100 families on each of the two days per week.
The center is located at 600 South Washington in Livingston and may be reached at 936-327-7634.