Rosalynn Carter’s Legacy at Work in Plains

Published 9:16 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

In the wake of Rosalynn Carter’s death, Jan Williams, a member of Maranatha Baptist Church, spoke about how Rosalynn Carter’s commitment to others still lives on in Plains. Williams gave an interview to several reporters on the train station that also serves as a museum to Jimmy Carter’s political legacy.

“We have lost the most wonderful First Lady our nation has ever had. We are learning to accept it. If it had to come at a good time for Miss Rosalynn to leave us, she’s leaving us at a time when this town has so much Thanksgiving in it. Thanksgiving for the Carters, thanksgiving for our little town, for our churches, for how we love and care for each other. So we are thankful that Miss Rosalynn has moved on to her next home. We’ll miss her, but she’s taught us what the legacy is supposed to do, and we live our life here in Plains and we intend to fulfil it.”

She talked about the food ministry that Rosalynn Carter had started.

“Our town is made up of a lot of people who don’t have enough money to finish the month. At our church, we were blessed to have some extra funds and Miss Rosalynn came up with the idea let’s do a food ministry. So we started out with about five families, and we took the food to their house and visited with them. Well, then it began to grow and grow.”

She talked about how more people had been inspired to join, from participants in the Jimmy Carter Leadership Program at Georgia Southwestern, to the Rotary Club in Americus.

“This past Saturday, we just had local people who knew the college had gone home and so they came to help us. But we fed over 460 families. So, it’s turned out to be an amazing project that was started by Miss Rosalynn.”

She talked about how people used to be thrilled when Rosalynn Carter would hand them a loaf of bread at the distribution.

“Miss Rosalynn always said we ought to be able to help each other, and Maranatha is all about helping as well as being kind, and the people are kind back to us, and thank us. I do know that one weekend I saw the food bill, and it was over six thousand dollars worth of food that we gave away, and we give it away within about three hours.”

When asked if she had fully processed the loss of Rosalynn Carter, she replied:

“I would say the answer to that is no. I still think she’s up the street. I still think somebody is going to tell me how she’s doing. No, I think it will take weeks, months, to process that we don’t have her. But she has left us such a wonderful map to follow about how to be the kind of people we need to be, along with her husband with his Sunday school teaching. I have so much that I’ve learned from both of them, that every day, I try to promise myself that I’m going to use one of those things that they have taught me. And if I bless somebody else, all I ask is that they bless somebody else.”

Williams showed a similar love to those gathered to hear her talk about Rosalynn Carter, greeting them by name and remembering past interviews. Afterward, she thanked them for sharing Rosalynn Carter’s story, one that is still carried on by so many she inspired.