With the help of community members, a Good Samaritan in Northport was able to ensure a homeless woman will have warm shelter as temperatures are expected to drop dangerously this week.

Mary Lewis Geddis said she met the woman, whose name is hidden for privacy, in 2009 and has encountered her many times, offering her prayers and items when she was able to.

"One day, I had my youngest son with me, who was around six or seven at the time, and we saw her while heading to church for choir rehearsal," Geddis said. "Before I thought about it, I pulled the car over and we got out and I started talking to her. I asked if she minded if I would pray for her and we gave her some snacks and water we had just picked up from the store. It was an opportunity to teach my son what it means to have compassion for others, regardless of race or financial status, and to know at an early age that it is not okay to treat people invisible when they are in need."

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Geddis said as word began to surface regarding dangerously low temperatures expected to impact the area ahead of Christmas, she began praying they would run into each other, which she said was "an appointment by God."

"I began praying that the Lord would allow our paths to cross because my parents recently passed away and my sister didn't mind me taking some food that was left over from their pantry to give to her," Geddis said. "Last Thursday, I needed to stop by the pet store and as soon as we pulled near the store, there she stood."

Geddis took action, getting on Facebook where she asked her friends if they would help get the woman access to a warming station or help pay for the woman to stay in a hotel. She found a hotel and soon enough, donations began pouring in, so much that the woman had lodging arranged through Christmas and additional items were also provided.

"Initially, she was put into a hotel on December 16 after I saw she has only socks with no shoes," Geddis said. "By Saturday, people began responding to my post and her stay was extended through Christmas day. Besides the hotel, we were able to get her a new pack of underwear, winter boots, new winter socks, gloves, winter hat, a Columbia winter coat, hand warmers, two blankets and a sleeping bag. Someone reached out and asked me to pick up a $50 Walmart gift card for snacks and water. Additional funds were given and we had enough to where we could get her another $50 Walmart gift card."

Geddis said it is important to give back to those in need, to show compassion and show people "the love of Christ" especially during the holiday season.

"Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time when a lot of people are lonely, broken and depressed for many reasons and people may never know," Geddis said. "It's a time where we shuld be willing to tell people that we love then and tell them how much our Heavenly Father loves them and that He cares about their every need. We are to be the hands and feet of Christ and show compassion to others."

Geddis said this effort would not have been possible without the support of Northport City Councilwoman Jamie Dykes and everyone who donated to the cause.

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