12/19/04 — Lula Newkirk gets her day in Mount Olive

View Archive

Lula Newkirk gets her day in Mount Olive

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 19, 2004 2:00 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive residents know Lula Newkirk for her ability to help others when they need it most.

Mount Olive Mayor Ruff Huggins joined the congregation of Gospel Light United Holy Church on Dec. 11 to declare "Lula Newkirk Day" in Mount Olive. She was honored for her years of service to the community through the Helping Hands United Missions, which she founded.

"All her life she has been a humanitarian," Huggins said. "We need more like her."

Mrs. Newkirk studied to be a nurse and worked many years at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro until she retired in 2001. She and her late husband, Edward Carnell Newkirk, were married for 39 years. They started the nonprofit mission in a building behind their house in downtown Mount Olive in 1994, while she was still working at Cherry.

"They wanted to do something for people who had needs," Huggins said. "On the weekends, they would prepare food -- delicious food -- and take it to people who needed it."

They also provided clothing, helped people who had fallen behind in heating bills and counseled those in need.

Along with being the founder of Helping Hands, she is one of the founders of her church, Evangelical Fellowship Center on Center Street in Mount Olive.

The Helping Hands mission has grown in the past 10 years, and today, it is large enough for meetings, social events and special services.

Mrs. Newkirk has devoted her entire life to helping people, Huggins said.

She renders a great service to the community, said Town Commissioner Paul Smalley.