A senior on fixed income with an empty fridge was able to eat a Christmas meal because her community came together.
Mavis Hamilton, 60, of Rockingham, has medical complications that prevent her from getting around. She said she occasionally uses the Area Richmond Transit for doctor’s appointments, but paying people for gas can be tough. Hamilton is on oxygen, and uses a tracheotomy tube to breathe and speak, which can be difficult at times.
Hamilton’s neighbor, Laura Smith, is also elderly. Her daughter Rowena Arthurs is her full-time CNA, and Arthurs looks in on Hamilton from time to time.
The weekend before Christmas, Arthurs came to visit Hamilton.
“I told (Arthurs) I’ve only got one piece of meat in the freezer,” said Hamilton.
Arthurs helped Hamilton out with groceries, and then went to dinner with her friend Luther Upton.
“We had supper together this weekend and she told me about this lady who had nothing,” said Upton. “It’s really emotional for me.”
Upton tried to ignore the feelings he had about Hamilton, but felt compelled to donate money to her. He went to her house, and met her. Upton said that when he saw Hamilton’s situation, he felt blessed, and wondered how it could be fair that he has more than he needs while other don’t have enough.
“It’s unreal,” said Upton, emotionally upset. “I spend money like crazy and here’s a lady who doesn’t have anything to eat on Christmas. I questioned God why he blessed me when there’s people like this. I have five cars and I live alone.”
Upton went to a new church that Sunday, as he is in transition between churches. He said during the sermon he wrestled with the message of Hamilton’s “deplorable situation,” and finally felt called to speak to the congregation about it. Upton said the people of Freedom Baptist Church in Rockingham came together and took up a collection for Hamilton that totalled $295.
“It’s really heart-warming to know the people at the church can do something for someone they don’t know,” said Upton.
He brought Hamilton the money, and let her know that several church members had promised to bring her food.
“You don’t know what went through my heart,” said Hamilton the day after Christmas. “It’s the angels. I cried a little. I praised God for it. I belong to a church, and you have to call them and tell them what you need, but I didn’t call (Freedom Baptist) church, they just came. What makes me feel good is that a little boy at the church gave 75 cents.”
The people from the church also gave Hamilton a poinsettia for her living room, which didn’t have a tree.
Hamilton said she was able to spend Christmas with her son, who came to visit her. She also got to speak to her grandchildren on the phone.
Upton told Hamilton that being able to give her something for Christmas blessed him. He said he doesn’t deserve nor want the credit for Hamilton’s Christmas donations.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.