When neighbors step up

Reading Time: 2 minutes

No matter the outcome, neighbors stepped up to help a local man

Update: Sept. 19, 2018 – The elderly man from  decided he wanted to live at the Stewart Home. Kara Joelle picked him up Wednesday evening and took him back to the home. He had not eaten for two days.

By Denise DuBois

Even when things don’t go the way we want them to today, doesn’t mean someone’s life won’t be changed by the acts of kindness and caring that are displayed when someone is in need.

On Sept. 13, Amy Smith posted on Facebook in The Crawford Chat. Smith was posting for her friend Katie Woomer, simply looking for help or resources that were available.

In stepped Kara Joelle and the Stewart Community Home.

“We attempted to help him. We talked to him about the home and what we do. He decided he didn’t want to be in a shelter. He wanted to be independent rather than live over here,” Joelle said. Joelle is the Executive Director of the homeless shelter for mentally and physically disabled. “That does happen a lot. Mental illness is a huge factor in helping the homeless. They feel like a lack of control when they come into a shelter.”

Joelle has seen this scenario before. But she has also seen a situation turn around. Currently there are eight citizens from East Alabama who are in the home. Last year, the Stewart Community House served 22 people from the area.

Russell County Commissioner Chance Corbett recently heard Joelle’s stories when he was watching a Rotary Club meeting filmed by CTV Beam.

“While I watched the meeting I listened to Kara with Stewart Community Home talk about how they have taken homeless people from Phenix City and Russell County and provided them a safe place to stay and even provided medications. The stories she gave were unbelievable. I messaged her and asked her to come to the county commission to ask for funding to help the homeless in our county. After listening to her story, the Russell County Commission unanimously voted to give a small amount in a tight budget year to their center because it was the right thing to do,” he said.

The commission voted to provide $1,000 to the home. It was the very next day that Corbett saw The Crawford Chat Facebook post and was able to refer Smith to Joelle. “It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you just take the time to listen and care,” Corbett said.

While Corbett and Joelle both wanted the situation to go differently, they are both aware that the community stepping in to try to help is just as important.

“This situation did not end like I wanted it to,” Joelle said.  However, after leaving her information, the man could later change his mind.