Faith and Values: Local native gives back by helping area’s needy

A Brookhaven native is returning to town this weekend in an effort to give back to her community.

Vanzetta Bridgemon has begun Healing the Heart Ministries to distribute items to those in need, and she will be holding a giveaway Sunday at Second Baptist Church from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Clothing, shoes, toys and more will be given to those in need.

Bridgemon said she has felt destined to help people from a young age. When she was 7 years old, she began helping a blind woman to church.

“You’re going to help people. You’re really going to help people,” she recalls being told.

Bridgemon, who now lives in Illinois, is beginning her ministry in Brookhaven because of her love for the town and her roots here.

“I started from a yearning to help the needy,” she said. “People have given me loads and loads of nice clothes.”

Part of the giveaway includes a distribution of tilapia, bread and of the water. Bridgemon said it symbolizes Jesus’s feeding of the 5,000. In the gospel, a story is recounted in which Jesus feeds a crowd near Bethsaida with only five loaves of bread and two fish supplied by a boy.

Bridgemon hopes to turn the giveaway into an annual or biannual event. She also would like to start a location in Brookhaven, but right now she only has land without any structure on it.

“Lord knows how many times I’ve cried because I don’t have a house in Brookhaven,” she said.

She is also willing to expand based on people’s requests.

“Just tell me what they need,” she said. “I think God is totally pleased with it.”

Bridgemon currently owns Therapeutic Touch in Waukegan, Illinois. She holds a nursing degree and is trained in reflexology, naturopathy, body wrapping and herbal medicines. She also was named to the Alexander High School Legacy Hall of Honor in 2012.