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The gift of giving: Couple serves Greene County in memory of late son

August 14, 2020 - 00:00
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    Russell Greene loads a box of donated food into a vehicle. LEILA SCOGGINS/Staff
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    Russell and Mary Greene have dedicated their lives to helping the community in memory of their late son, Trey. CONTRIBUTED
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    Deacon Jimmy Stovall and Deacon William Lewis Jr. unload boxes from a trailer. LEILA SCOGGINS/Staff
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    Deacon Walter Greene, Diane Jefferson, Brenda Woods, Anneleas Greene, Deacon William Lewis Jr., Russell Greene and Deacon Jimmy Stovall stand with the Second Baptist Church of White Plains van and trailer filled with boxes of food for donation to local re
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    Anneleas Greene and Deacon Walter Greene show off a box of food for donation. LEILA SCOGGINS/Staff

Russell and Mary Greene are not strangers to giving back and serving the community.

After losing their only child, Trey, at 16 years old to heart failure attributed to sickle cell disease on July 15, 2015, the couple was inspired to serve. Russell was born and raised in Greensboro, while Mary is from Madison.

In July 2018, the Greenes rented two charter buses and took over 100 people from multiple Lake Country churches to a Braves game. Trey loved baseball. In those early days of giving back, the couple also created a GoFundMe page to raise money for families with sick kids, a reality they knew all too well.

“In between then and now, I was trying to fill that void by doing community service and volunteer work,” Russell Greene said.

Russell works with a non-profit organization out of Madison called The Living Life Team Inc. The team’s mission is to, “empower people who are visually impaired to obtain an independent life by encouraging boldness to achieve and discover one’s selfworth through prosperity and growth and self-determination.”

“I started asking questions about how can I be a servant in my own community,” Russell said.

Russell and Mary know that COVID-19 has affected everyone worldwide in some way, shape or form. After reflecting back to the loss of their son, Russell and Mary knew now was the time to act.

“Trey’s illness and COVID-19 have some similarities,” Mary Greene said. “Because of what we went through, Trey’s inspiration grows in you to help others.”

Russell decided to reach out to Shelia Hill and Sharon Barnett, who are known in the Athens community as the Twin Angels. The twins helped the Greenes gain access to food boxes to be distributed to the Greene County community.

“I know this has to be God, getting connected with the right people who distribute food boxes to Athens and the surround counties,” said Russell.

But Russell didn’t stop there. He also reached out to Golden Harvest Food Bank out of Augusta and started receiving boxes from them in July. Since he began receiving the boxes, Russell has distributed them at New Springfield Baptist Church, the Siloam Community Center, Second Baptist Church of White Plains, in Union Point and Greensboro, as well as to The Living Life Team Inc.

“These boxes have made their way through the Greene County community, but it would have been impossible without God placing the right people in my path,” said Russell.

As of Aug. 12, the Greenes had passed out 900 vegetable and produce boxes and 250 loaves of bread. By the end of August, they are on track to have distributed over 1,400 food boxes to the Greene County community.

The Greenes said those numbers would not have been possible without the help of Pastor Lester Alexander, Leola Dunn, Mamie Jefferson, Faye Chester, Diane Jefferson, Lois Grant, Deacon Jimmy Stovall, Deacon Walter Greene and wife Anneleas, Deacon William Lewis Jr. and Brenda Woods.

“I want to thank my wife of 29 years for supporting me and being by my side, working and serving in the community,” said Russell. “All of what we have done would be impossible but God has seen us through and heard a sincere prayer from a person in the community that wanted to do some good and give back to the community where he was born and raised.”