It takes a village, ‘Second Blessings’ to raise a child

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2012

When Toni Douglas of Second Blessings heard the new doctor’s wife’s name, she knew it was a sign that things were right on track.

Douglas runs Second Blessings, the Meredith’s Miracle’s thrift store in Andalusia. As many know, Meredith’s Miracles’ is a non-profit organization that offers non-medical related financial support, like money for food, gas or hotel stays, to families with sick and injured children from this area in need specialized care not available locally.

When a recent donation of medical supplies came through Second Blessings, Douglas began the search for someone who would benefit from it.

“I called everyone,” Douglas said. “I tried hospice companies, home health companies, you name it. One day, I went with a friend to see Dr. (Caleb) Youngkuma, and the receptionist said, ‘Wait while I get his wife. Her name is Meredith.’

“It was like a sign from above,” Douglas said. “I knew I was in the right place.”

Youngkuma and his wife did find a use for the medical supplies, as well as another avenue that the non-profit could help.

“My father runs an orphanage in Africa,” said Dr. Youngkuma as he described the small village of Kom, located in Africa’s Northwest providence. “My father, Enoch, has been preaching there for more than 50 years. He’s 81 and still preaches today. One of his main missions was to open an orphanage, and he did it.”

Youngkuma said approximately 50 children live at the orphanage – many whose parents have died from malaria or HIV, or whose family couldn’t afford to feed them.

He said in this case, the effort is a true example of how it takes a village to raise a child.

“In this case, it’s children,” he said. “The locals help by donating food and things. From Second Blessings, we were able to get two shipments of clothing, which helped a lot. The good thing is that here (in Covington Couny) there are a lot of good people who donate, and also good people elsewhere, like those who donate food or money.”

Youngkuma said supporting the orphanage is also a family affair.

“My sister, Mercy, she lives in Austin, Texas, and she’s been working to raise money and gather supplies, and she’s been sending that,” he said. “Over there, they have absolutely no facility for medical care. Some of the big cities do, but the villages, don’t. Those suffering from a headache don’t have aspirin to take.

“One of my goals was to set up a small area in the village where they can have a clinic – somewhere that a doctor from a nearby town can come,” he said. “I promised to raise money and do that. That is what I am working on.”

Youngkuma said he and wife Meredith recently made a trip to take a donation of clothing from Meredith’s Miracles, which was well received.

“Like I said, there are good people here – people who care, and the orphanage, (those) there are thankful, as are we,” he said.