Overloaded with bad news baggage? Refresh, regroup and reconnect with those in our community improving the experience on the journey of life. We present the first of a series of spotlights on positive people in the community presented by Chelleby Starr and Jessica Watson Nelson. Today, meet Young Arthur Smith III. Young is the only paid employee in the Lord's Pantry, the food distribution department of the Community Health Outreach, better known as the "Apple Project".
He wasn't always a paid employee.
As a teacher in a small private school, Young didn't get paid over the summer. Desperately, he went to a food pantry for help, thanks to the suggestion of a friend on social media. This had a profound impact on his future. Later, Young would reciprocate the opportunity afforded him by volunteering on the weekends for a year, as a Student Assisted Program Specialist with the "Apple Project". Almost three years into his work with the Community Health Outreach, Young has overseen the growth of the food distribution from 40 families 3 times a week to a whopping 60 families 3 times a week.
At 48, Young lives up to his name, as he is full of excitement when listing the volume of goods he personally hands out on a weekly basis. Donations from Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Waste Not Want Not (affiliated local charity), and Grassroots are combined with USDA donations to provide 1 bag of dry goods, one bag of canned goods and servings of meat. Families receive food up to 12 times a year.
Young is full of compelling stories--- from the stripper struggling to feed five children to the recently laid off business professional. Pausing to smile, he recounts the hugs of elderly ladies and his favorite intangible jewel: the special handshake taught to him by a WW2 veteran. While grateful to oblige the needs of veterans, the frustration of them being needy is another matter with which Young wrestles to make peace.
He further discusses social issues on his own podcast, KungfusoupPodcast.com.
Since 1988 Community Health Outreach, CHOjax.org, offers to meet a plethora of social needs such as: food, medical, dental, infant and baby items, and pregnancy testing and counseling. If you would like to volunteer or make donations sign up online today or contact Steve Burnett at: 904-573-1333.
photographs by Chelleby Starr
text by Jessica Walton Nelson
Chelleby Starr and Jessica Walton Nelson have partnered in a photo-journalism effort, highlighting humanitarian and social do-gooders. We believe that positive deeds have a ripple effect and bringing these stories to light can inspire, hopefully creating the change we desire all around us. Inspiration Station needs your stories. If you, or someone you know, would like to share your efforts in impacting our community for the better, please contact us via Facebook. Deepest gratitude for perpetually demonstrating a friendly gesture.