Meet the "neighborhood nanny" who is helping a community in need
CROWLEY, La.(CBS NEWS) -- Many people use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to volunteer and give back to their communities, but for one Louisiana woman, every day is a reason to help out. CBS News' Michelle Miller met Alma Johnson, known affectionately as the "neighborhood nanny."
Johnson starts every day minding a huge pot over a fiery stove. She runs what has become an unofficial daycare for a community in desperate need of a caring hand. For as long as this grandmother can remember, she's been caring for dozens of her littlest neighbors in Crowley, Louisiana. And while the food she provides may sometimes run low, she never lets it run out.
"My house is never empty. Never. Seven days a week always has some kids in it," Johnson said. "I just love them, 'cause I made a promise to the Lord and he gave me the strength to do it."
That strength is helping mother Natalye Goffney.
"I didn't have no babysitter, no money, no nothing," Goffney said.
She started bringing her sons to Johnson after leaving an abusive relationship. She couldn't afford childcare.
"Over here a babysitter a week is $250, $200. They cannot afford it 'cause they got to pay their bills," Johnson said. "They're working people and if they don't go to work, their kids won't have a roof over their heads."
Johnson does not charge for her services. Parents pitch in what they can for food, toilet paper, and diapers.
"She also sets the example for us as parents to go out there and do something. Go to school if you're at school. Go to work if you need to work. I got the children, don't worry about them, they're safe,'" Goffney said.
"I don't have a lot, but I have a lot of love and a lot of attention," Johnson told Miller.
"She's officially known as the neighborhood nanny," said Pastor Warren Milson, adding an, "Amen."
He knows she's more than that.
"This is a travesty, many children in our community and our country are in need of food, supplies, and clothing. Sister Alma takes the little that she has and causes it to be much in the life of children," Milson said.