I was sound asleep in my bed when my dad shook me and said, “wake up! Listen carefully, I need you to come with me and stay right beside me no matter what.” The smell of beer was on his clothes and he was breathing heavily as if he had been fighting something, or someone. I knew it was an emergency. I could tell it was serious because for the first time ever, I sensed fear in my dad’s voice. He was afraid. His voice was shaking, eyes were wide open and darting about…I wondered if I was going to be alive when the night was over.
I stayed close by his side as we ran outside through our only door, down the squeaky stairs and into the black of night. I could hear police sirens, a helicopter, and commotion in the parking lot behind our apartment building. We ran in the opposite direction through the apartment community, weaving in and out of trees, around corners, and across a street. The entire time I could hear men yelling at my dad and telling him to stop and give up. Dad took me to the other side of the complex where my grandma lived. We banged on the door, she opened it, and we quickly barged through the door and locked ourselves inside. Looking back, I realize my dad was using her apartment a hideout from the police, except they knew we were there because they saw us go inside. It wasn’t long before the police busted through the door with guns blazing, and they tackled my father and took him away. I was told it would be a long time before I saw him again.
I was 7 years old.
Everything changed after dad was arrested. My mom was a short lady with an insecure, yet friendly, demeanor. She was very attractive in her early years, but as time passed the years of drugs and poverty had roughed her up. I remember her hair like yesterday, styled like Farrah Fawcett from the 1970s. The feathered wings on the side of her head crowned her as the queen of my life. I remember how she cared for me, teaching me to bathe myself, bandaging my daily wounds and laughing at my silly jokes. She laughed and smiled often considering she didn’t have the healthiest teeth. Her love for country music made some people chuckle, but I admired her for it. Growing up I would wear my Dad’s big cowboy hat and an oversized belt buckle while singing those sad old country songs with her.
She tried to make ends meet…but they never met. So we learned to survive without the ends meeting. Food became scarce, and so did electricity, housing, and comfort. We were broke in every way. Mom didn’t know how to fix the problem, so our little family hit rock bottom.
Today, I’m 33.
Looking back I can honestly say one of the reasons we were able to survive some of the roughest days of our lives was because there were local organizations who provided food assistance. There were some days that it felt like nobody knew we even existed. There were other days and even weeks at a time when we had no housing, no electricity, and no running water. But there was never a day when we could not access food. Why? Because somebody out there said “let’s be intentional to feed the hungry.”
I’m currently working on a small project to get food to the people in our community who need Food For The Holidays. Throughout October, we will be gathering names of families who need food assistance and we will be dropping food off on their doorstep during the week of October 31. (right now, we can only serve 100 families in Southern Wake County)
But I need your help.
People who need food assistance aren’t always on facebook, and they aren’t always able to fill out a form. I need you to do more than share a post.
Yes, please share the post, but can you…Ask yourself, “who do I know that may need some food for the holidays?” From there, I think you’ll be able to figure out what to do.
We are collecting names here —-> https://oasischurchnc.wufoo.com/forms/food-for-the-holidays/