The Last Place in the World
Real Stories from real people we serve. This story was collected by Joyce Miles at Fishes and Loaves in Henderson County.
They attempted to smile, but their eyes revealed an inner sadness that no smile could cover. Four different men from four different families, yet joined in so many ways. They were grizzled and weathered, some with scarred hands or faces, yet they sat straight up and tall, proud and masculine. Each of them told me the exact same thing. “This is the last place in the world I ever expected to be,” they said. “If I had ever thought I would be picking up food at a pantry, I would have told you that you were crazy!”
Four different men, all laid off from the construction industry. A brick mason, carpenter, framer and sheet rock man. Together they could have formed their own company. Together they had a hundred years or more of work experience. All were able to work, and spent long hours applying for jobs and going on interviews, but none had been able to find steady work.
They had all resigned themselves to their fate, and were grateful for the work that the members of Etowah Methodist Church did on their behalf. They sat and talked about the economy and the need for jobs. They could have formed a panel for a national economic summit and provided our leaders with first-hand knowledge of what is happening in our communities.
Four men with similar careers and backgrounds, joined together by meeting at a weekly food pantry. Joined together by the need to work. Joined together by the loss of pride of not being able to provide for their families. Joined together by trying to smile through the pain.