Hollywood woman finds calling serving others

Published On: Sep 21 2012 02:10:08 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 21 2012 11:00:00 PM EDT

If it happens in Hollywood's Washington Park neighborhood, it's likely Nadine McCrea had a hand in it.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -

Every Wednesday morning, Nadine McCrea stocks her food pantry at the Community Enhancement Collaboration, where hundreds line up hours before the giveaway begins.

"As they say, time to restock the shelves," said McCrea.

From pastries to bread to rice, the goal is to make the pantry feel like a grocery store.

"So, we prefer the clients to come in and take their time and pick out whatever they choose," said McCrea.

Jalexis Walker was welcomed to Nadine's food pantry like an old family member.

"I'm looking for a job at the moment. I haven't been working for two years," said Walker.

"What we do is bigger than us, you know, and it's about all of us coming together to work for the betterment of our community," said McCrea.

McCrea's work began in 1982 when she began feeding children in Hollywood's Washington Park neighborhood, where she lives.

"My husband, he would say, 'I leave home and there's food, and I come back, you give away everything. Why do you give away all the food?'" said McCrea.

McCrea credits three young girls with helping her discovery her purpose in life.

"I am so proud of those three girls because I remember when they was like this. Now, they're big girls, they're in college," said McCrea.

Now, 30 years later, McCrea runs the Community Enhancement Collaboration with the help of a staff of dedicated volunteers. The giveaways have grown from toys to computers to bikes to her annual backpack giveaway.

"You know one thing in Washington Park, we learn to rebuild from the inside. You have to rebuild yourself," said McCrea. "I love giving. I love serving... This is my purpose. I know my purpose. I know the vision the Lord has set for me -- it is to help others. This has to be."

Click here to learn how you can volunteer or donate to the CEC.

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