Local grocer finds ways to help

Published 6:50 pm Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pic-N-Sav in Troy is extending a helping hand to boys and girls at the Big Oak Christian Children’s Homes in Birmingham and Gadsden.

Nathan Eaton, store manager, said he attended the Association Grocers of the South meeting in July and was so impressed with the presentation by Big Oak founder, John Croyle, that he came back excited about doing something for the 160 boys and girls at the Big Oak ranches.

“John Croyle is the father of Brodie Croyle that played football at the University of Alabama,” Eaton said. “He played college football for Coach Bear Bryant and had a chance to play in the National Football League but, instead, he did what he felt the Lord wanted him to do and started a children’s home for boys – Big Oak Ranch –in 1974.”

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Eaton said the ranch was started for boys who were victims of abuse and neglect.

Croyle’s vision to start a home for girls was escalated when he petitioned the court to allow him to accept a 12-year-old girl at the boys’ ranch.

“The judge didn’t think the boys’ ranch was a safe environment for the little girl and sent her back with her parents,” Eaton said. “Three months later, the little girl was beaten to death by her parents. That’s when John Croyle knew he had to start a ranch for girls.”

Eaton said the story of what the Big Oak ranches are doing for so many young people made a lasting impression on him.

“The ranches are doing so much good, but they are also struggling financially,” he said. “They are having trouble raising funds, and the corporate sponsor that floated the biggest part of the ranches’ bills is unable to do so because of the economic ups and downs. The Big Oak ranches need help and I thought that was something that we could do here at Pic N Sav in Troy.”

The Troy grocery store how has receptacles where people who want to lend their support to the Big Oak ranches can drop in dimes or dollars. They are also offering a drawing for $100. A dollar donation will place an entry in the drawing.

“We are also offering discount cards filled with discounts from local businesses,” Eaton said. “The discount cards will be available after next week. All proceeds from the fundraisers will help support the Big Oak boys and girls ranches. The ranches are available to abused children all across the state so this is such a good cause.”

Eaton said the boys and girls at the ranches are in the custody of the ranches and have permanent homes there until they are old enough and ready to be on their own.

“The ranches are not just a stopping point,” he said. “They where the young people will have a home until adulthood. So, it’s a good place for these young people, and it’s a Christian environment, and that’s very important, too.”