12 years ago, Raymond Townes had a baby boy, Charles. Raymond and Charles’ mother were not in a relationship and she was struggling to care for the baby. Raymond, worried about the care his infant son was getting, tried to get full custody of his son. He kept trying and at nine months he did get full custody as Charles’ mother abandoned him one day. She dropped him off at Raymond’s father’s house and never came back. Since then Raymond has been doing everything he could to care for the young boy on his own. This was difficult for him to do by himself.
One day, the apartment complex in which he and his son lived burned down. After the fire, the building was condemned. A voucher was provided to help him attain a new apartment. However, the new apartment offered them unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. The apartment was in poor shape upon their arrival and there were bed bugs. The piping was inadequate and they were not able to bathe but rather just able to wash up. In spite of reporting the poor condition of the apartment, the landlord refused to improve the living conditions for them and they were forced to leave. Through all of this, Raymond had been trying to hold his job and was not successful. Thus began their journey with The Salvation Army.
Raymond and Charles, who is now 12, arrived at The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Shelter with very little. They were provided food, clothing, and shelter. Charles was enrolled in an after-school program where he received help with his homework. Raymond is proud to say that Charles is on the honor roll! Raymond was able to go back to school to obtain his GED and is currently taking courses to get his barber license. Charles will be going into 6th grade at a Charter school in the fall. All of these things were made possible through those who generously support The Salvation Army.
Raymond and Charles stayed at the Emergency Family Shelter for approximately four months and are now on their own in an apartment. The Salvation Army continues to check in with them and helped arrange for Charles’ schooling. Raymond is grateful to The Salvation Army for its many programs offered to him and his son while they were at the family shelter and for the continued support they receive today.
“It’s a great place to find yourself,” said Raymond. “If you have no family, no sense of direction, it’s a place of encouragement with so much to offer to get your life together.” Raymond embraced the services offered, such as the mentoring program, family crisis counseling, and being able to give back by cooking and cleaning. Some teachings were subtle and others were more in-depth. All helped him to be able to cope with everyday life situations. “The Salvation Army has been a great support to me and my son,” said Raymond. “I don’t know where we would be today without them.”
Please note: Some names and photos used in this story have been changed to protect the confidentiality of those we serve.