One, during his childhood. Carson is number 8 out of 10 children, born in Lumberton, North Carolina. He described growing up with his siblings as “the best”. Carson recalls “We grew up in the country and the best persons to play with are your brothers and sisters, because they’re so many of us. And picking and playing—it just became fun.”
He continues, “Course, I grew up in the 60s, and we didn’t have any toys back then, [but] there was a cornfield, and we all would run in the cornfield and, you know that hard dirt beside the root? Well, we would hide from one another and crawl and we would grab that dirt and if we catch somebody looking, we would throw the dirt. And it was a lot of fun.”
Carson’s second favorite moment is now, at 60 years old, living on Frink Street.
Carson graduated high school at Midway High School in Dunn and by then he had experienced tougher things growing up and says, “I had to figure things out when I got older and I realized everything that shines wasn’t gold.” 6 months out of high school, Carson started work at a trucking company, where he then continued there for 17 years.
Following that, he moved to Wilson, NC and stayed for a few years, still driving trucks, until he reached a point where he didn’t want to drive anymore, around 2019. Carson got off the road, stayed with a friend while living off his savings, which didn’t last long. He then moved back home to stay with his mom, in 2020, but knowing the relationship was so strained, he didn’t want to stay with her, so he lived in his car.
In the meantime, Carson waited patiently for his stimulus checks, unemployment, but nothing ever came. His car was in a family neighborhood, close to his uncle’s store. “I felt really embarrassed because I’m in my car and people thing I’m sleeping in the house. So, every night I go to my car and I think ‘man, my money just ain’t coming and this is starting to look bad on me, cause my car just here and eventually they’ll be able to tell, that car ain’t moving.”
While Carson was there, his nephew would visit him every day. “I told him I got a plan. And don’t worry about me.”, Carson said, “But he still came every day and brought food and cold drinks and we talked because he knew I didn’t want to be with anyone else.”
Carson said months crept by and he thought “I can’t keep doing this”; and so he tidied up his niece’s yard and his mother’s yard and had the plan of packing up and moving to Fayetteville for a job.
Carson caught a ride from a neighbor to Fayetteville and on his arrival, he went to the bus station. On the bus ride, a man recognized him, though Carson didn’t, and asked what was he doing on the bus. “I told the man I’m looking for a job and my car is down. And he said ‘have you eat anything?’ And I said no. He said ‘Well, there’s this place called Inasmuch and they serve breakfast.” The man offered to take Carson there and he agreed.
After breakfast that morning, Carson was waiting outside when Debbie [case manager] came and looked at him, “Wow, who are you?”, and preceded to tell Carson about The Lodge program. And after some meetings and interviews, Carson started at The Lodge in August 2020. And within the day, Carson got a job at Pilgrim’s Pride.
Only six months after, he had the privilege of moving to Frink Street.
Carson smiles and recalls, “Let me tell you, when I came here to be a part of this program, it was a boost that I needed. It was like everything in my mind, my body, my soul needed. It was like it went from drinking cold water to drinking a cold glass of Hawaiian Punch. It was just that sweet and good. And one of the best moves I have ever made in my life.”
Carson focused on working and he describes everything then just fell into place. Although, one more thing was missing, a working car. All this time, Carson’s car was in the shop. Some months in Debbie asked him, “What if there was a car around and you could have it?” Carson said “Well, ok!”
Literally, the next day Debbie told Carson a car is available and they want him to have it. It took a while to convince Carson to take it—but he did. “And let me tell you, I’m obsessed about this car!”
Carson is still practically speechless in what has happened in one year. To remember where he was last year and where his mind and spirit were, he shakes his head and says “man, it’s something else. I really can’t believe it.”
“Ms. Debbie and Pastor Craig, those are some incredible people. Pastor Craig helped me get my focus back on me, with the calmness and the peace. They not only told me what they could do, they did it! And they showed me so much love. You don’t see any tears now, cause they’re all gone! They all dried up.”
As Carson continues to work hard and save money, he’s learning to “keep my hands in God’s hands.” Carson explains, “That’s all I can do. I got to keep serving Him and I’m glad to have these people come around when they did. All it is, is God. It’s not me doing this at all.”