Mar. 29—Last fall, Vine Community Church member Joyce Colburn, whose husband Darrell is also the pastor, had an idea to help others in the community without asking for anything in return.
"God just put it on my heart, but I had really been thinking about it for a long time," she noted. "I wanted to do it at Christmas and couldn't get it done. I wanted to do it for Valentine's Day and couldn't get it done. So I thought, 'Ok, Easter is good.'"
So she turned to fellow church members Linda Butler and Kay French, whom the Tribune highlighted in January 2020 for their roles in feeding individuals on the last Friday of every month at the Kokomo City Line Trolley station.
Butler and French quickly ran with Colburn's idea, and that's how "love buckets" were born.
A love bucket is just as it sounds too, the women said.
Complete with several toiletry items that can't be purchased with food stamps, each bucket also contains a crocheted hat and washcloth — personally created by Butler — socks and candy.
Butler and French recently assembled 100 of the love buckets for last Friday's trip to the trolley station, handing them out to the riders as they hopped on and off the trolleys to their next destinations.
The buckets were pretty well-received, too.
"I just love it," rider Courtney Barbary said after grabbing a bucket. "I love the support. I love it. We need that in this time. That shows that people actually care and want to help their community."
But it's not just the buckets that the women offer either.
Butler pointed out that they're also often asked to pray with and for people, as well as just offer simple words of encouragement.
"People need this," she said. "They don't expect it, but they need it. And I need it too because it makes me feel happy. ... And I just want them to know that we'll be here for them. ... These are my peeps, and I love them all."
Colburn agreed with Butler, adding that at the end of the day, it's about just wanting to spread joy and put smiles on a few faces while doing it.
"With all the negativity going on right now and people being depressed, we just wanted to show them some love," Colburn said. "We might be a small church, but we wanted to do something that had a big impact and help the community. ... A lot of people are down on their luck right now with so many things going on, and if we can just give them a little love and cheer, that's what it's all about.
"So many people go through this place on a daily basis, and you really don't even think about it," Colburn added, referring to the trolley station. "And if we can bless somebody, it's a blessing to us as well."
And the women are already planning for the next love bucket distribution too, hoping to make it even bigger and better than last Friday's event.
"We want to make this an annual thing," Colburn said, "because it's just about paying it forward any way you can. When someone does a kindness to you, you do a kindness for them. This is all just a kindness gesture. And you can win someone over with love and kindness faster than any other thing else."