STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Stone County woman said she wakes up every day hoping to bring smiles to those in need. Retired college instructor Dr. Marie Heim has devoted her life to taking on all kinds of community service projects from delivering gift baskets to hospitals to collecting coats and blankets for the homeless.
WLOX profiled Heim and her passion for giving back as part of Black History Month. She said we all can choose to be difference makers in our communities.
At her church, Dr. Marie Heim is known as the "candy lady." That's because every Sunday for the past 17 years the Stone County native has passed out treats to the congregation's children because she loves seeing their sweet smiles.
"I get up every morning thanking God for the day," said Dr. Heim. "I pray throughout the day by the end of the day I would have made a difference in somebody's life and it's incredible."
What's incredible is how many community service projects and non profit groups to which Dr. Heim gives her time. One of her latest efforts was donating fruit baskets to long term hospital patients, but she's also volunteered at churches, food pantries, and animal rescues, just to name a few.
"I don't give out, and I don't burn out. I just have fun doing it. Therefore, you just find something else to do. I go some place every day," said Dr. Heim. "I volunteer at my son's school. I do fundraisers. I participate in my church and so you can find something to do every day of your life that's wonderful. "
Dr. Heim said, "Every project that I do, I challenge me to do another one. A bigger and better one than the one before and through that I look at projects with children, projects with the hospitals, projects within my community. I have taught at Gulf Coast Community College, but I go back. I give back."
Dr. Heim said she hopes to inspire others to give back the way her late mother Audrey Davis inspired her.
"She was one of the people who helped to bring Head Start to Mississippi. She worked every day to be the difference and make a difference," Dr. Heim said. "So she inspired me to be the person I am in terms of community service. It's not about me. It's about we. We are helping other people to enjoy life."
Dr. Heim said she wants every day of her life to be a blessing in the lives of others. She has also taken her love of gardening and used it help the community. She grows various kinds of vegetables and gives to them to churches and individuals in the community.