JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It's a Wednesday morning. Women of New St. John Missionary Baptist Church assembled to discuss plans for the church's food pantry.
Melody Robinson sits on a chair not far from the door. Her strength is not what it has been after surgery to remove a kidney and an adrenal gland. But, Robinson is finally back in Arkansas and nothing is going to keep her from a meeting about the food pantry.
"On Aug. 27, 2012, our pastor dedicated this food pantry back to God," said Robinson. "As of Dec. 26, 2016, we have served 1,168 people."
Even when Robinson was sent to Texas for surgery at Baylor, the food pantry at New St. John was still on her mind.
"She's been ill and been treated. She's been hospitalized in Texas," Jeanette Dotson, a member of New St. John Missionary Baptist Church said. "She had her mind on the church, making sure those Thanksgiving baskets and boxes were filled."
"My passion is that I just care about people," Robinson said. "We have a lot of people who was coming to our church looking for food."
Service to her fellow man doesn't stop at the church. Robinson just marked 30 years of working at the Jonesboro Human Development Center, a facility for individuals with special needs and unable to live on their own. Robinson has a degree in social work—and has been working on her Master's Degree.
"So on May 10th, 2018, I will be graduating with my Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Degree," Robinson said.
Robinson was also instrumental in a grassroots effort to change the Garden Manor apartment complex back in the '90's and improve safety for families living there.
"We went door-to-door asking people what it is that you want me to see," said Robinson.
So where else could we expect to find Melody Robinson than at church on the day selected to surprise her with cash from First Community Bank and KAIT?
Her friend, Norma Ferrell, met us outside. Ferrell told a group of church women inside that we were coming to do a story on the food pantry, and we were! But, this story would have a special focus on the lady sitting in a chair wearing a bright yellow shirt.
"Are you Melody Robinson," I asked of her. "Do you have any idea why I'm here?"
Robinson answers. "You're doing a story on the food pantry, right?" Robinson asked.
"Well, not entirely," I said. "We're here to talk with you, too. I hear you have an amazing servant's heart," I stated. And then with a big grin, I announce, " You are the next Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner!"
The room erupts in applause. Robinson is stunned.
Her friend, Norma Ferrell, reads from a letter that she submitted to Gr8 Acts of Kindness on Melody's behalf.
"Something that she has done that really stands out in my mind is caring for her great niece whose mother suffered a stroke," Ferrell said. "Melody is truly a giving and caring person in so many ways and because of that—I think she deserves this act of kindness."
I count $408 dollars cash into her hand.
"This money will go back to the food pantry," Robinson announces. The room erupts into applause again.
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