Family Focus: Local woman helps to share the gift of light

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marsha Fletcher says her 80-year-old sister Wilma always knew how to light up a room.

“Well, she’s always been a cheerleader for everybody,” Fletcher said. “She was always so happy to see you. And so, you know, she always smiled. She was a cheerleader in school. She loved to dance. She’s just a great girl.”

But for the past 20 years, Wilma’s health has deteriorated.

After recovering from a brain bleed and open-heart surgery, she is now battling a muscle disease that has her confined to a bed.

“She can only move her left hand,” Fletcher said. “That’s all she can move.”

One night, the light in Wilma’s ceiling fan burned out, but due to her condition, she could not change it herself.

This made Fletcher wonder if there were other elderly or disabled people without operable lighting.

“So, the next day I go get bulbs, and we talked about it, and we talked about how there are probably a lot of people who don’t have lighting,” Fletcher said. “And so, she and I decided that we would just start doing that and take them to local churches or the food bank.”

That’s when “Wilma’s Gift of Light” was born.

Since March, Fletcher has donated more than 500 light bulbs to local food banks and churches.

“So, we wrap them in cute little packaging, so they look like a gift,” Fletcher explained. “It doesn’t really take that much time, and I usually sit out here when I’m doing them and it’s really enjoyable to me.”

She said even a small gesture like this can brighten up someone’s day.

“I just think it’s a wonderful thing to light up a room,” Fletcher said. “I mean it just makes a big difference in somebody’s life.”

Fletcher hopes others will hear her story and start their own Wilma’s Gift of Light initiative.