The spirit of giving

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Mehgaan Jones


Edward Lofton, Sr., of Jonesboro, was speechless as he walked into an office, Friday, and saw boxes and a gift bag filled with toys, clothes, CD's, and food.

"I don't know what to say...this is unbelievable," said Lofton, as he received the gifts.

Employees, at the Clayton Center, Community Support Services Center, in Jonesboro, gave a gift bag to Lofton, a single parent, and his three sons, Edward Lee Lofton, Jr., 10, and eleven-year-old twins, Edward Isaiah Lofton, and Edward Isaac Lofton. Each child received a box of gifts.

The gifts and food were donated by the administration staff of the Clayton Center, according to Clayton Center officials.

The boxes, which were wrapped in holiday paper, and marked with each family member's name, included food for a holiday meal, and an envelope of money, to pay Lofton's electric bill, according to Linnie Grier, a billing specialist for the Clayton Center.

The Clayton Center Community Support Services Center is located at 217 Stockbridge Road, in Jonesboro.

Lofton said he hears about people receiving gifts this way, but never expected someone to do it for him. "For most of my life I always gave...I love to volunteer..but I never did it thinking that someone would give to me."

Two of Lofton's sons are autistic, he said. The children receive developmental disability services from the Clayton Center, according to center officials.

"...If you look at ten years from now, it doesn't matter how much money you have in your bank account, what kind of house you live in, what kind of car you drive, what matters to us the most is that we made a difference," said Linnie Grier.

Clayton Center officials said Lofton was a very worthy candidate to receive the gifts.

"Although resources are limited, Mr. Lofton's gifts are abundant," said a family support coordinator from the center, who did not want to be named. "His faith, strength and hope enable him to provide a nurturing, supportive living environment for his three sons."

"I wish I could articulate the way I feel right now...I thank God for this," said Lofton.