Even with doing chores on her 97-acre farm, spending quality time with her children, grandchildren and dozens of animals, Linda Loy still finds time to volunteer with several local charitable organizations.

Born and raised in Alabama, Loy has lived on her New Hope farm since her husband returned from an overseas military assignment in 1989. For the last 15 years she has regularly dedicated her spare time to the Salvation Army, The CARE Center, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and the Heal for Real Ministry.

"I just knew that I was supposed to do more than give money at my church," said Loy, human resources specialist, Army Contracting Command Deputy Chief of Staff Human Capital G-1, Plans and Operations Division.

Loy first began volunteering her services with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

"I've worked with them for at least 15 years through my church," said Loy. "We've been on two mission trips out of the country to help with disasters. We also travelled to New Orleans three different times after Katrina, working with the Red Cross."

According to Loy, the organization prepares care packages for disasters throughout the country.

"Our purpose is to help the hurting and share God's love," she said.

It was also through her church that Loy became involved with The CARE Center. Short for Community Assistance Resource Effort, The CARE Center is an organization that seeks to reduce poverty in Madison County, Ala., through education initiatives, employment resources, recovery programs and emergency services.

"When The CARE Center first opened it was supported by 12 churches. The budget averaged $4,000 to $10,000. Today it has an eight-figure budget and serves Brownsboro, Gurley, New Hope, Hampton Cove, Owens Cross Roads, Berkley and Big Cove," explained Loy.

Several times a week, Loy helps with the center's food pantry, financial assistance, adopt-a-grandparent, and a variety of care package programs.

The first and fourth Saturday of each month, Loy spends her time helping out at the Salvation Army, where she's been a volunteer for more than 10 years.

"When I first started working with the Salvation Army I worked in the kitchen along with the folks who were actually in the program. We would prepare food and feed anyone who came in," said Loy. "After a couple of years I started working on the food truck. On Saturdays the truck goes to three Huntsville locations. My sister volunteers with me as well and we like to make cupcakes or brownies to hand out along with the meal."

According to Loy, the Salvation Army truck runs 365 days a year - rain, sleet or snow.
Most recently, Loy began volunteering at the Heal for Real Ministry, which was started by another ACC G-1 employee, Denita Walters.

"It's a street ministry where we go under the bridges (where homeless people live), in the projects to feed and do activities with families. Last year we were able to take Christmas bags to about 40 or 50 elderly people in the projects," said Loy.

Loy said the group is currently working on becoming a non-profit organization so they can apply for grants and support more community programs.

"We don't have a mission statement yet, but we just want to help the hurting, needy, homeless and be God's hands and feet to serve him."

With such a busy schedule and full family life, Loy admits that she sometimes feels like there's just not enough time in the day to help more. It's those times she finds encouragement to continue through her spiritual beliefs.

"I know I can do all things because he gives me strength. Sometimes I feel like giving up, until a client or someone on the street just says those perfect words to remind me why I'm doing what I do. I feel my purpose on this earth is to serve others."