WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News - Top Stories - Marsella Swanson - A Lifetime of Giving
Monday, August 18 2014, 06:51 PM EDT
Marsella Swanson - A Lifetime of Giving

There are people in our communities who are always there to lend a helping hand.
On this week's 'Pay it Forward' we spotlight on a woman whose love for others has added up to a lifetime of giving.

We head to Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Ringgold where we find Marsella Swanson - a person who truly embodies the 'Pay it Forward' spirit.

Nominator Gina  Reed describes her longtime friend. "She's 82, 83 years old and she still works a part-time job in catering and she does the food pantry on the side, as well. It' s just amazing. She's supposed to give out food one day a month, but she's here almost every day."

Gina tells me that Marsella's generosity extends far beyond the doors of their church where we stand.

"There was a family that had been burned out of their house a few years ago and she just able to take them into her house like it was nothing, and I'm like... you don't know these people, but she took them in."

Gina goes on to say, "She's got a cousin living with her right now that is dying of cancer and he just doesn't have anywhere else to go and so she's taking care of him."

Her list of good deeds goes on and on. 

"She keeps medical equipment in case somebody needs some kind of supplies - wheelchairs, walkers and canes, but she's selflessly giving all the time," Gina says.

"I long to have that kind of heart, that I could just give to anyone and not think twice. So, it's just a blessing to know her and that's why I nominated her."

I ask Gina what Marsella's doing at the church today.

Gina replies, "Today she's in the food pantry. She's putting up groceries and organizing her food pantry. She has no idea. (It's) so it's exciting."

Like we do each week, Gina and I count out our 'Pay it Forward' cash.

We walk into the bottom floor of the church and around the winding halls until we end up at the door to the pantry.

Gina walks inside and stops Marsella who is busy organizing food cans.

"Marsella?" Gina whispers.

Marsella turns and hides her face with a sheet of paper. She's a little camera shy as Gina explains why our 'Pay it Forward' crew is in the church basement.

Gina smiles and says, "I nominated you and you got chosen. On behalf of McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9 I want to 'Pay it Forward' to you with $500.

Marsella gasps and says, "I can't believe this!"

Gina explains, "You are such a blessing and you are such a role model."

"Hold still," Marsella says as she reaches out with a hug.

I ask Marsella why she has committed her life to making sure others are taken care of.

She replies, "My husband died twelve years ago and I don't have anything else to do, so I just do that. I mean, I have other stuff I need to do but I don't enjoy it like I do this."

"Have you always been a giver from the heart?" I ask.

"I guess. As far as I can remember this is what I've always enjoyed doing... I just feel like this is what the Lord wants me to do and that's why I get up and do it I guess."

I wonder aloud just how long she'll continue this lifetime commitment to giving.

With a reassuring smile Marsella says, "I guess till I die."

Marsella Swanson - A Lifetime of Giving

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