More Need, Less Help
Yesterday, Clyburn lashed out at Sanford, saying his effort to get a waiver is "100 percent political posturing."
While the politics play out, the surge in need is visible in the line that snakes across the parking lot at Harvest Hope, the food bank that supplies 400 nonprofits and runs its own emergency pantry.
Increasingly, the people in line are, like Brian Clarke, coming for the first time. Clarke, 47, was the foreman for a framing and roofing company for six years, making $18 an hour, until the company laid him off in December.
"It blew me out of the water," he said, sitting across a desk from Cheryl Davis, who helps people find assistance. He tries now to pick up day-laborer jobs. Most days, there is no work to get. His electricity, he told Davis, was to be shut off the next day. He had just sent away his girlfriend so she would not be in the dark.
"I have the tools. I have the equipment. Everything. I've never had to ask for anything ever, ever, ever," Clarke said, his eyes filling with tears. "I called God's Helping Hand. Brookland Baptist Church. Everywhere I called, they were out of help."
Davis grasped Clarke's hand, weeping, too. He was still crying as he walked off down the hall to get a shopping cart filled with food.
Davis wiped her eyes. She gets to work at 7:30 a.m. and sees 25 to 50 clients a day. These days, she said, she cries with most of them.
A few days later, she still was thinking about Sheila Turman, across town with her eviction notice and no way to pay her rent. Davis called Turman and told her to come back to Harvest Hope.
When Turman borrowed a car again, Davis handed her a cashier's check for $1,150, enough for her rent and penalties through April 1. The money didn't come from the state or a charity. It came from Davis's own bank account.