Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Call For Help.

When I was doing drugs, getting evicted constantly and going nowhere in life, an angel showed up on my doorstep and told me to get my shit together. His name is Jim Jenkins.

I was trying to sell my stove to the man who owned the appliance shop next door. He didn't want the stove, but offered to pay me to clean refrigerators- at $10.00 a pop. That was big money to me back then(hell- it's big money to me now) and even though I was afraid to leave the house, much less stand outside on the street in full view of everyone, I took it.

The next day I found some money in one of those refrigerators. When I took it to him, he told me I had passed the test and gave me the keys to the front door. Not only did I earn his trust that day, I earned a place at J and J Appliances.

J and J is a little house on the side of Buford Highway- surrounded by trailer parks and car lots.. and of course next door to my little house that I raised Samantha in. (This old covered in ivy, infested with my spiders, pipes bursting in the winter, looks like a deserted crack house, tin roof where it rains so hard you can't hear someone talk.. house that doesn't even belong to me... place of refuge and solace where I found my sanity and raised my daughter house. Where I FINALLY let go of Robert and Jason.... where I learned how to mail the mail.. where I found Jesus and God... where I quit smoking pot.. where I stopped spending hours doing my hair and makeup and listening for people who wanted to hurt me and waiting for a tragedy that was just around the corner.. where I remembered how to talk to trees and found out that I loved the people that no one else did.. I've lived longer in this house than I have ever lived anywhere my entire life... THAT house.)

In the 10 years I stayed at J and J, I did indeed get my shit together. I found God- or God found me, since after all He was the one who stuck me there in the first place. I worked there 6 days a week, for free. We all did. There was no money there. The people who came into that appliance shop didn't have money. I realized many years later that God was personally responsible for each and every person that came in through that door. They either needed help, or were in a position to give help.

See, J and J was also a food bank. Every morning, while it was still dark outside, Jim and his son would go to numerous grocery stores and pick up donations. EVERY MORNING. Then they would unload what I needed for my families who were coming that day to J and J, and THEN they would take the rest to a church, and THEN they would come back and fix/sell/deliver appliances, and THEN they would do it all again the next day. And that's nothing. They also delivered food to shut ins, got furniture, clothing, household items for those in need, gave baby showers to teen Moms, birthday cakes and party stuff to single Moms, rides to work, pulled strings to get people job interviews, went at midnight to those same grocery stores the night before major holidays to get the Christmas/Easter/whatever things that didn't sell, just so kids whose parent's weren't worth a shit would have a stocking or an Easter basket the next morning.

It doesn't matter to them if you are a drug addict currently or reformed, or a prostitute, a drunk, on parole, running from an ex husband or just running. They will give you community service hours, food, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear- you have worth in that shop. You matter. Your past doesn't. J and J will give you hope and a loaf of bread to go with it.

J and J changes lives. I saw it happen every week for 10 years.

Many people have helped over the years- and it's odd how many came down with cancer. It's the 'regulars', really. The people that helped every weekend. Ali, Ted, Sadie, Hazel, now Brandon.. and now Cindy. Jim's own wife. She went into surgery today to remove a cancerous lump in her lung, and they saw that it had spread, becoming too large to remove.

I need help.

I am a 'fixer'- and I am down here in Louisiana and all I can do is rely on others.

I need a team.

They will need home cooked meals that they can freeze. Cindy will need rides to chemo. The taxes were doubled this year on both the shop(J and J) and Jim's house- not to mention his social security and VA benefits were LOWERED. Some people are physical helpers, getting their hands dirty, some aren't. Can't or don't want to help that way? Too far? Her medical bills are going to crush them. Send a check. Even $25.00 is alot right now.

I can't do this alone.
(If you are close enough to help, please message me your number so I can give it to the lady I've placed in charge of this new 'Team Cindy', so she can call you. If you are in Georgia, you've heard me talk of Priscilla.. and you know we won't take advantage of your generous nature. Promise.)

Please help me bring some much deserved blessings to this family.

God Bless- may blessings and good karma come your way!

Jim Jenkins
P.O Box 956662
Duluth, Ga. 30096

J and J Appliances
4411 Buford Highway
Norcross, Ga. 30071


The Waker said...

I admire everything you are doing to help these people out. My mom has been battling leukemia since 2009 and I know without the help of others that we wouldn't have made it this far. Her insurance has helped with the treatment cost but it's an amazing feeling to have a home cooked meal for christmas when you expect nothing more than to eat the hospital food with your mom. People are amazing sometimes and I'd like to pay it forward in some way. Please let me know what I can do to help, being 22 my finances aren't in order enough to help like I wish I could but if I can do anything at all please let me know. Keeping everyone in my prayers.

The Waker said...

I'm sorry, I didn't check the date of this post. Wish you'd update us on how things have turned out since last year. Sorry for my carelessness... I got caught up reading and didn't even notice the date it was written.

Brenda Green said...

Dear Barbie,
Thank-you for your heart that wants to help! It's the most rewarding thing that you can do. May you truly be Blessed in every area of your life. Jesus says that when you give to the poor that you lend to the Lord. This is truly The heart of God. Right now my husband and I have lost our jobs and just surviving, but when things turn around I hope I will be able to help you. I'm glad that you found Jesus! It sounds like you have come a long way.
With all my heart, Brenda

foodbankbarbie said...

I"m so sorry, The Waker- I don't check this often. Cindy passed the following Christmas, but b/c of this blog which I reposted on FB, all their bills were paid for months, food was delivered, the house was cleaned.. How is your Mother?
Brenda, thank you so much for your kind comments!! How are you and your husband these days?