Van Buren Woman Continues Giving Back Despite Recent Theft

VAN BUREN (KFSM)- For five years, a red cooler with ice and cold water has been sitting outside of the Johnson house until this week after someone stole the cooler, its stand and a bowl for pets.

The cooler idea came to Alice Johnson shortly after she retired.

"The idea came [when] I was at home more and in and out," Alice said. "I noticed all the foot traffic that was going up and down my street."

That foot traffic includes kids walking to school or the library, workers walking to their job and even mailmen and sanitation workers who show their thank by sending Alice notes.

"This is one I got this week the day before the cooler was stolen," Alice said. "I feel certain it was one of my Butterfield [Elementary] children that walked by and got a drink on their way home from school.

Now the old red cooler is replaced with a sign that reads, "Someone has taken our cooler. Please ring doorbell for water."

"My cooler, the stand that it sat on and even the bowl that I keep for stray animals to have something to drink was stolen during the night," Alice said.

Although the cooler is gone, Alice said that won't stop her from helping those in the community.

"It'll slow me down a bit because I'm not home 24/7, but most of the time, someone will be here to hand out the bottled water," Alice said.

The new sign urges those passing by to ring the doorbell for now and Alice continues to keep everyone in the area hydrated, while also getting to meet new faces.

"I felt really good because I could see the water disappearing and I could see people walk off with it, so I knew I was doing good," Alice said. "The cooler being stolen, it broke my heart, but actually getting to meet some of the people I never met before, that's been a blessing, too."

Alice said the new sign has been up for about three days and nearly 60 visitors have rang the doorbell for water.

On the last hot day of the year, Alice said she will give out Gatorade and juice boxes instead of water, to give those passing by a special treat until next year.