Rita and Samuel love their children, and they work hard. But as hard as they work, sometimes it is not enough. There are times
when it takes a power of the will just to keep their heads up.
“Things happen,” Rita says. “When you live pay check to pay check life can go bad quickly.”
The couple are raising four children. Summer is 15, Kai is 14, Silas is 11, and Mathyus is nine years old. Rita and her family became regular clients of Greater Vision Outreach at Kennedy Home three years ago.
“We are so pleased that Rita and her family are a part of Greater Vision,” Center Manager Jerry Snow says. “I’ve seen the children grow up in front of my eyes.”
Greater Vision Outreach (GVO) helps meet the essential physical and spiritual needs of working families who are struggling financially. The goal is to help families achieve self-sufficiency. GVO provides direct service as well as referrals to other community resources. Established in 2018, the ministry’s first center was built at Mills Home in Thomasville. Work began four years ago at Kennedy Home in Kinston. The new center, the former alumni building, was dedicated October 10, 2023.
“Life is just hard,” Rita admits. “The last few months have really
sucked. But I believe we’ll come out on the other side.”
With Jerry’s help, Rita and Samuel actively set goals—both small and large. One big goal was to improve their employment opportunities. Rita went from working as a retail clerk to earning her Commercial Drivers License (CDL) from the community college. For the last two years, she has worked as a driver for a large waste management company, emptying business and industrial garbage containers. Samuel began working for the City of Kinston. The couple now budget their incomes and are able to put a small amount into a savings account.
“You don’t work, you don’t get paid,” Rita says. “Bills keep coming whether you are working or not. It is important to have a plan.”
Financial security is a goal for every GVO client. Staff walk step by step with families, helping them experience success. It is important they know they are not alone. When a family sees it work, they invest themselves more toward reaching their goals.
“Rita and Samuel have been consistent the last year and a half, and they are seeing results,” Jerry affirms, “despite the challenges they have faced in recent months.”
Rita discovered a lump in her breast. She was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery October 13. She begins chemo
therapy soon—another challenge to stare down. “I won’t stop fighting. Being afraid doesn’t fix it. I’ve learned to take things as they come. I keep going for Samuel, the kids—for me. What else are you going to do?”
Rita’s cancer, Samuel’s recent rotator cuff surgery, and family bouts with strep and bronchitis began to cast shadows on their holidays.
The family’s successes seemed not enough to prevent this Christmas from becoming a repeat of darker days from the past.
Rita knows the holidays can be tough. “You have to focus on paying bills and buying groceries. Buying presents and a tree doesn’t make the list.” This season, however, will be different.
Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church in Thomasville have a heart for children and families. They stepped forward this Christmas to provide the children of all 60 plus GVO clients, 17 years old and younger, Christmas gifts. These are people who give to make GVO families’ lives better.
“A few weeks ago, we didn’t know if we would be able to buy Christmas gifts,” Rita admits. “But Jerry contacted us and gave me a wish list sheet for each child—asking sizes and what three needs and three wishes each one had. Apparently, he knows Santa Claus!”
Rita smiles with thanksgiving. “Samuel and I are actually getting excited about Christmas.
We’re going to be able to get a real tree after all.”
How you can help a family like Rita's through Greater Vision: Through the kindness of churches and individuals, Greater Vision Outreach clients are receiving a hand up instead of a hand out. Faithful supporters have given since GVO’s beginning, but needs remain high. Donations of clothes, furnishings, housewares, and food, as well as financial gifts, can be made by contacting GVO Manager Sara Becker at 866-904-0060.
Follow Greater Vision on Facebook:
Thomasville (Central NC): facebook.com/greatervisionnc
Kinston (Eastern NC): facebook.com/greatervisionkinston
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children