Flora… Living in Fear

As cited by the organization Weld for Birmingham, “If all of the poor people in the City of Birmingham formed a city of their own, it would be the eighth largest city in Alabama.” In fact, since 2000 poverty in Birmingham has risen 20%. These are difficult numbers to read, much less even to comprehend what life is like if you qualify to be a resident of this fictitious city. Each day you live in fear of what the day holds, each day you wake up fighting for the next day, and the slope to poverty is slippery. You wish you had a voice and an advocate, but few of those exist. One SHPC
member, who would like to remain anonymous, is one such voice for the poor.

This SHPC member met Flora, a young mother of four, in 2010 as she faced disconnected utilities, a repossessed car and a pending eviction notice. As the SHPC member began to hear Flora’s story, it was clear that Flora and her family had been living in poverty and fear for over 10 years. The slippery slope to poverty began with a simple bad check that was the result of a lost job. Flora paid restitution for this crime but she did not have the funds to pay the court cost, which began to accumulate. Flora appeared in court to attempt to explain why payment was difficult, she was promptly placed in jail. She remained there until her family could bail her out.

Eight years later in 2010, during the Christmas season as she was leaving work, Flora was arrested for failing to appear in court to pay the lingering court costs. The slope to poverty is slippery and even more difficult to stop. This time when Flora was placed in jail her family had no money to bail her out. It was at this point that the SHPC member met Flora.

In the midst of a very busy schedule this SHPC member served as Flora’s attorney and spent two days in court working to finally resolve the case. Through the giving of his time and talent, the SHPC member was able to get the $5,000 in court costs forgiven. By being an advocate for the family, the SHPC member moved Flora from a life filled with fear to resolution and peace. Flora was home in time to spend Christmas with her children. The Good Samaritan fund paid Flora’s bills and assisted the sister in caring for the children. Proverbs 31:8 calls us to “speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves...” This generous SHPC member did just that. The servant’s heart of this man and the Good Sam fund demonstrate how the actions of others can change lives... with the passion of Christ.