After retiring from working for 40 years as a nurse, Charolette Tidwell is using her pension to help feed more than 7,000 of her struggling neighbors each month.
Charolette has believed in being generous and of service to others since she was a little girl. “The community that I was raised in did this. My mom did it. The folks at the church did it. The nuns at the school that I went to elementary school did it.
We were indicated by this type of work. The service was always involved, “he said. After I noticed Fort Smith, many people from his neighbors and the people of his hometown of Arkansas, fight against food security,
the rancid bath of has to run creating a pantry of food. She works 6 days a week, running, continues to come out, she personally buys all the food, buy food using her pension to pay her.
As a child growing up, Charolette knew the pain of regularly not having enough food to eat. “I was raised in poverty and I understand all the issues that go along with not having enough money,” she said.
Charolette had seen seniors in her community who were unable to afford food, and who, at times, due to desperation and starvation, had resorted to finding and eating cat and dog food.
“Allowing the generation that raised us to go to the point that they’re eating cat food and dog food, I can’t imagine that,” she said. “I think [seniors are] a forgotten population.”
Charolette helps feed more than 7,000 people each and every month in her hometown of Fort Smith. Her group, Antioch for Youth and Family, hands out more than 500,000 meals each year to the hungry and to those living in poverty.
The combination of factory closures and very low wages have increased poverty levels in Fort Smith, and Charolette’s help is deeply needed and appreciated.
“We thank the Lord for this lady here, Mrs. Tidwell, for helping us out in a time of need,” said Sherri W., one grateful client of the food pantry. Charolette saves money herself by economizing on utility bills, and using coupons in order to get the best possible deal on food.
Her frugal lifestyle allows her to be self-reliant and donate everything else from her pension to help people struggling in the community. Other caring souls also donated money to her cause. She received some small grants.
Enabled her to provide more help. For Charlotte, as long as her neighbors continue to show up for help, she will serve them compassionately.
“I think if they have a persistence or purpose to come here, I have the obligation to serve them,” she said. “And to serve them in a compassionate, respectful way. Kind volunteers have also joined hands with Charolette, and they help her distribute the food, and hope, to the elderly. “Many of our people are repeaters.
They tell someone, and then those persons become repeaters. So it’s important for us to be not just a giver of food, but a giver of hope,” she said. For Charolette, she doesn’t care about the money. Her heart is set on doing the highest good that she can for her neighbors, whom she loves. “I don’t worry about the money,” she said. “I give it away.”