Listen to James's story

James has worked all his life. But when the recycling plant closed down, he was laid off and found it hard to find another job at his age. “I’m sixty-three years old,” he says matter-of-factly. So he came to the shelter at Allied Churches to get back on his feet. He was told that if he could find a job, they could get him into low cost housing. “So I went out,” he explains. “I was determined to find that job. So I did. So that’s why I came back. I’m working at K&W [Cafeteria] and I love it. It’s a job!”

He describes his mother and father as good parents who raised him right, which included going to church every Sunday. He credits “the man upstairs” as the reason he has made it. “Anytime I ain’t got a job, I talk to him and he’ll find me one. He’s a good God.” James takes responsibility for losing his driver’s license, a mistake that has had a bigger impact on him because he has no other options for transportation. Getting to his job can be difficult but he’s determined to make it work. He never married and has no children but finds satisfaction in doing things for himself and enjoys the simple pleasures in life like cooking his own meals. One of ten children, James has lost most of his brothers and sisters. Only he and his younger brother remain today. But family, God, and the help of services such as Allied Churches help him maintain a positive outlook. “I ain’t going to stop no matter what the situation.”

Interviewed by Sara Beth Puckett, 2015. Photographed by Trina Holt, 2015