Alamo Converted Texan Touching Lives Through Work with Local Nonprofit
by Rocio Villalobos
Lou Ayers does his part to lend a helping hand to the community. The Michigan native packed up and moved to Alamo’s Winter Ranch full-time two years ago with his wife and stays busy volunteering on the park’s First Responder Committee, its church board, and the local nonprofit ARISE.
ARISE is based in Alamo and serves families, helping them make ends meet.
“The people all work--most of them out in the fields,” Ayers said. “They’re not looking for handouts, but it’s just a hard time making a living.”
Whenever anyone in the park has something they no longer need, Ayers will pick it up and make a delivery to the families.
“Some days, there is nothing, and some days I may make four, five trips over there,” he explained. “There are days I may make two trips because somebody just got a call they have to go home and have a freezer full of food, so I call ARISE and tell them I’ve got frozen food coming, so they get people to line up.”
The donations mostly started with food but over time expanded to include clothing, furniture, and appliances.
“They have a list for couches, chairs, tables, etc. And I tell them what I got; then they’ll go down the long list of people who need it,” Ayers said. “It’s the same way with clothes. They know what size a certain family needs. Families will come and look at it and say, ‘No, we’re OK.’ They’re not hoarders.”
Having a part in connecting these families with vital items, he said, has forever changed him, reminding him to always count his blessings.
“They don’t have much, but what they do have, they’re so happy to have it,” Ayers said. “They’re more joyful in their lives than some of us. It really tears at your heart strings.”
One instance has really stayed with him.
“I had a Sleep Number bed somebody over here was getting rid of, so I told ARISE I had a bed coming, but not for a kid, for someone who needs it for medical or health reasons,” Ayers said. “They told me, ‘We know a woman who had an accident four years ago, and to get any comfort, she sleeps on the floor, so her husband sleeps on the floor with her.’ When I got that bed, I set it up and got it to work. I had to keep putting more air into it, and once it got to 85, she laid there and said it’s the first time she’s been without pain in three years. It’s a lot of joy to see someone you can help, and they appreciate it.”