An Altus man is using his artistic talents to raise money for blessing boxes that provide free non-perishable food, hygiene and seasonal items for anyone needing them in Altus.
Larry Davis, a retired architect, started drawing family and friends’ pets after his niece requested he draw her pets. Davis, 80, had painted landscapes and animals for many years as a hobby. As he aged painting became more difficult due to tremor in his hands. Using colored pencils instead of paints reduced his shakiness. Davis used colored pencils to illustrate two children’s books written by his daughter, Darlene Alley, before starting to draw pets.
Davis, a member of Altus First United Methodist Church, said he became concerned about the growing amount of money the church needed to fill four blessing boxes located throughout Altus. COVID-19 has increased the need. The church went from filling the boxes once a month to twice a week. The church spends about $1,000 per month filling them and relies on donations.
Altus First United Methodist Church is a part of the Oklahoma Annual Conference.
“One night it hit me that I could possibly use my hobby to support this great ministry,” Davis said.
Davis asks for a minimum donation of $50 per pet portrait. So far, the project has raised more than $2,100 for the blessing boxes. He has drawn more than 30 pets, including donkeys, chickens, alpacas, roadrunners and raccoons, in addition to many cats and dogs.
“I enjoy trying to capture the personality of the animals. I usually start with the eyes,” Davis said. “Every animal has its own character, and I try to capture it. I also enjoy making people happy with the drawings of their pets.”
Morgan Young, youth director at First United Methodist Church, said the church established the blessing boxes in 2017 as a project for their children and youth to reach out to the Altus community.
“God was calling us to bring tangible hope to the people right in front of us,” Young said. “And we knew this ministry could be a small part of building God’s kingdom. Students at FUMC helped build and paint the boxes themselves.”
Anyone wanting Davis to draw their pets in support of the Blessing Boxes may contact Morgan Young at Altus First United Methodist Church. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or the church office at (580) 482-0795.
Blessing box locations:
- Grace Life Fellowship — North Forrest Street and East D Street
- Strong Tower Ministries — Martin Luther King and Ethel Street
- Spirit of the Lord Church — South Joy Street and West Wingfield Street
- First United Methodist Church — West Cypress Street and North Hudson
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This story represents how United Methodist local churches through their Annual Conferences are living as Vital Congregations. A vital congregation is the body of Christ making and engaging disciples for the transformation of the world. Vital congregations are shaped by and witnessed through four focus areas: calling and shaping principled Christian leaders; creating and sustaining new places for new people; ministries with poor people and communities; and abundant health for all.