Larrethau Davis lives not too far from the GBM. She remembers driving by on her way to work and seeing the people lined up outside to receive assistance, never thinking that one day she’d be in the line herself.
Larrethau is the sole caretaker of her 29 year-old son, who is severely handicapped as a result of having six strokes. “Last year on Labor Day was when he had the last stroke. That one left him unable to talk. The doctors said he won’t live through another stroke and that his brain function is decreasing with each one,” Larrethau explained.She had to quit her job to take care of her son. Because of his decreased brain function, he is unable to take care of himself and requires her full time attention. “I’m really worried about my son. I’ve already lost two children–twin daughters–who died from Sickle Cell,” Larrenthau.
While Larrenthau worried for her son, she also found cause to worry for herself. She went to the doctor for some trouble with her hands and feet and was diagnosed with Howel-Evans Syndrome, a thickening of the skin on the hands and feet. Often, when one is diagnosed with Howel-Evans Syndrome, a diagnosis of esophageal cancer follows, as it did for Larrenthau.
“I’m just trying to make ends meet. I’ve been unemployed since January and have no real income coming in. I’m doing the best I can. I’ve been denied disability and food stamps aren’t enough,” Larrenthau said. “I don’t care about my cancer. I just care about taking care of my son. We’re struggling.”
Larrenthua learned about the GBM’s services because she lives close by and has been seeing people lining up for assistance for years, but she never thought she’d need it herself one day.
“This is the first time I haven’t worked in 20 years. I’m frustrated at not being able to have a job and not being able to provide for my family,” said Larrenthau. “GBM helps me with food and clothes. I’m glad I can at least make a meal. I appreciate them. The GBM is a blessing. I’ve got a lot on my plate and they’re really helpful here.”
If you’d like to donate to GBM’s food pantry to help people like Larrenthau and her family, you can drop off nonperishable food items at GBM, located at 2304 12th Ave. N. in Birmingham between 8:30am and 4:30pm. You can also make monetary donations online or by making checks payable to Greater Birmingham Ministries.