The Transylvania Times -

By Bill Harrah
Staff Writer 

Graham Ganner’s Tales From The Front


Last updated 6/25/2012 at 12:43pm

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. Our Client Services Manager, Graham Ganner, keeps a journal with vignettes of what he hears from clients. See what he has to say about their situations and how Sharing House assisted them:

• A couple in their early fifties are new to the area, homeless and camping in the forest. Their situation turned much worse when their 30-year-old daughter suddenly left her three children, aged 11, 6 and 3, with them. We had just received an eight-man tent, which we gave to them, along with blankets, food and a tarp. They will be coming in this afternoon for firewood for the weekend. The new America — such a rough experience for those at the bottom.

• This client is legally blind and on SSDI, raising 2 children, one a special needs child. For the second time in three weeks two men broke into her trailer. This time they hit her with a pipe and knocked her unconscious, inflicting a 28-stitch cut in the back of her head and splitting her mouth open. When the police arrived she was still lying in a pool of her own blood. She and her children are justifiably terrified. We assisted in moving the family to a new location on the other side of town, well away from her attackers.

• A young lady in her late twenties came in this week. She is about seven months pregnant and already has a five-year-old. She was living with her boyfriend who became more and more abusive over time. She asked him to leave, and he did. However, a week later a friend of his (she thinks with his encouragement) raped her. She charged him with the offense but it left her pregnant. She planned to have an abortion but could not follow through with it. She then figured to give up the baby for adoption. Now she has decided she can’t give it up after feeling him move around in her. She has decided to raise the child on her own. She was very emotional but also of a clear mind. “This is not this little baby’s fault. How can I punish the baby?” She had a good cry, but remained firm in her convictions. God bless her. She came in for food, which we provided.

• A new client came in and I could see she was struggling with her composure, trying to hold back the tears. Questioning revealed that coming to Sharing House was a hard thing for her to do, as all her adult life she has been economically self-sufficient. She has raised her son on her own and always maintained their household. She worked for the last 23 years at a small local manufacturer. A new owner bought the business and used his long time employees to train younger, cheaper workers and then let all the experienced people go. She has been unable to find more work to date. This month she was hit with an unexpected repair to their furnace, which was the tipping point, forcing her to seek help for the first time in her life. We were able to qualify her and do a food appointment. We also referred the new client to DSS for food stamps as she was unaware she would qualify for them. These two additions to her economy should stabilize the household.

• A young mother of four in rather desperate shape came in. Her husband has had to go on home dialysis, can’t work and he’s waiting for his disability check to start. In the meantime, they lost the place they were renting and ended up in a motel. They found a trailer and moved in, having scraped up the deposits required. The trailer was full of black mold and the children immediately became sick. Her husband and children had to leave after one night. They are now engaged in a battle to get their deposits refunded so the money can be used on a different place. She came in again yesterday to ask for enough food to feed the kids that night. We provided her with what she needed for a spaghetti dinner and breakfast and lunch for today. To top off her miserable day, when she went to leave her old van wouldn’t start. I went out to see if we could help and I found her slumped over the steering wheel, just sobbing. Her four year old was consoling her, rubbing her back and saying, “It will be OK mommy. It will be OK.” I pray it will.

(Harrah volunteers as Sharing House’s Public Relations Manager.)


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