GIBSON CITY, Ill., (WCIA) — One organization in Ford County is spreading the love and showing what it really means to be a small town with a big heart. People at the First Presbyterian Church of Gibson City are committed to helping as many people as they can.

The idea started in October 2021 when the congregation celebrated 150 years. Mary Clow, an elder and ministry coordinator, said they wanted to do something to show the community they were a part of the church.

So Clow, her husband and other church leaders started thinking and rounding up donations. Clow said ideas come from anywhere in the area.

Once the idea was born, a team started making the magic happen.

“We committed to do God’s work to help Gibson City be a better place to live,” Clow said.

One way is by helping to battle food insecurity. They created a community garden at Railside Golf Club and got involved with the food pantry.

Another outlet is with students at GCMS High School.

“The youth in the area are big for us,” Clow said. “We awarded over 20 scholarships in May to seniors in the area.”

One more area feeling the love is right in the heart of town. They bought banners for downtown.

“Seasonal banners to put on the new light poles,” she added. “We work with them to buy some benches and trash cans to beautify downtown.”

Sometimes the help expands to other states after natural disasters, like when tornadoes hit Kentucky.

“If something comes up that is a need, I realize we’re not big enough to cure all the world’s problems, but we can help out,” said Ron Clow, another elder.

No matter who needs it, the Clows said it’s all been a blessing.

“The congregation is just so happy when they made this commitment, they’re just constantly giving me ideas,” Clow said.

They said they never expected it to grow this much, but they’re grateful for the opportunity. If you want to help out, Clow said the best way is to donate to local food pantries or youth groups.