Joplin volunteer spends Christmas day helping others

April O'Neal gives back at Watered Gardens
Joplin volunteer spends Christmas day helping others

A Joplin woman is making it her personal mission to make sure everyone has a meal and somewhere to go on Christmas.

It’s a way for her to give back.. after her life was changed by people doing the same for her.

April O’Neal, Joplin resident:”It’s very fond to my heart because it’s like I get to come back home.. I get to come back home on Christmas day.

O’Neil, her family and several other volunteers — for the second year in a row — spent their Christmas morning volunteering at Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission – making food, watching the 1983 movie the Outsiders.. and spending time with people.

Something that’s very close to her heart.

O’Nneal:”Probably eleven years ago, I was a homeless drug addict, and I was a client here and had community service.. I had seventy-six hours of community service. When you’re stuck in addiction, people don’t really love you.. they kind of shun you.. and it kind of keeps downward spiral going. and so James and Marsha really just showed me the love of Christ.”

Now eleven years later, she runs her own mission — helping women who are struggling with addiction — and spending Christmas morning sharing love with those that need it.

O’Neal:”You want to have that love and that family connection on Christmas, which they don’t have.”

Travis Hurley, Watered Gardens:”April is just constantly looking for ways to share the good news that she’s living herself with other people. And to do it here at Watered Gardens, she’s giving back and at the same time, it blesses our staff, ya know, it allows those of us who are here most every day to be home with their families.”

A blessing that she hopes will help transform people’s lives.. the same way hers did.

O’Neal:”The most life transforming thing for me was to have people who have been through the same things that I had, and walk with me through those things, encourage me along that walk, and so I hope that I can do that for other people.”

All so everyone will feel the same love that she feels on every Christmas morning.

If you would like to know more about Watered Gardens follow this link.

If you would like to know more about O’Neal’s ministry In his hands follow this link.