October 15, 2008 § 1 Comment
JR Flournoy cares about people not judging others. His vibrant personality and engaging speaking voice evoke the famous scholar and social activist, Dr. Cornel West. Flournoy is unable to work because of a ruptured disk and pancreatitis, and although he says he is often in pain, from the sound of his robust laugh, one would never guess he had any ailments at all. “Physically looking at me, it’d seem as though I can go out there and do anything,” Flournoy said. “I wish that more people would be sympathetic as far as the needs of people—one can’t judge by face value.”
Flournoy hasn’t been able to work for his lawn service in the last few months due to a recent back injury. His wife is also not working because she is preparing for back surgery. Flournoy does not receive food stamps, but when he is in need he visits food pantries to get groceries for his family. They have five children, all under the age of seventeen, living at home and in school. “As far as using the food bank system, I try my best to not overdo it. I get what I need and what I don’t need, I don’t bother with. Right now I am in need. I am medically disabled and have a house-full of hungry folks.”
An injury can be devastating to people who work in manual labor, especially if that’s their only source of income. There aren’t too many jobs that allow you to sit down all day, unless you have clerical or computer skills. Flournoy knows firsthand how difficult it is for people with disabilities to gain employment. But bills still have to be paid, and sometimes it is not possible for groceries to be a priority item to purchase.
“Food pantries are extremely important because in the event that they’re not here, one can’t provide food for his family. We have to rely on places such as this.”
When Flournoy does get food from pantries, he said he loves to make spaghetti because it goes far in feeding his multiple family members. When Flournoy runs out of food, “I search for a way to do better. With my lawn service, I’ll try to get a person to do my job for me and I pay him a percentage. This way, I can receive something in order to take care of myself.” Flournoy emphasized the personal importance of trying to be self-reliant, but acknowledges that sometimes it is impossible.
“We all can’t help our situations just as I can’t at this moment. Pantries are vital. I’m happy you guys are here for us. It’s a good thing.”