This film was produced during the 2011 Carolina Photojournalism Workshop in the Uwharrie region of North Carolina.
Here’s a quick synopsis:
Chris Story worked in several factories before becoming director of the Community Inn, Stanly County’s homeless shelter. Story took a pay cut when he accepted the position, but he felt God had laid it on his heart to take the job. Two years later, he remains dedicated to serving homeless men and women.
Story admits that he can’t fix the lives of the people he serves, but he can make sure they have a meal and a roof over their heads each night. He sees his guests as people, refusing to judge their circumstances and choices. Story says each morning is like a new slate for him to be able to impact the people he meets.
True to the cliche, working on this story was an emotional roller coaster. It took time for the residents to warm up to me, and even longer to warm up to my camera, but found a modicum of acceptance after my first night at the shelter.
Each person at the shelter had their own difficult and interesting reason for being at the shelter. It wasn’t difficult to bond with such real people. The bond was so strong, it turned out, that it was difficult for me to readjust to life with my college-aged peers.
The bulk of their problems, and mine, seemed petty and downright insignificant compared to those of the people I’d met at the shelter. When I wasn’t at the shelter, all I could think about was getting back to my newfound friends.
The main character in Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead–an EMT–believes his main job is to be a grief mop for his patient’s families. As a journalist, I saw my job as being a transmitter of the struggle and weight of homelessness both for the sufferers and the supporters.
That was my goal. I’ll let you decide if I was successful.
You can watch another film about homelessness in Albemarle. “I want a home” follows Lynn Corcoran, a homeless woman who lived just down the road from the shelter, but refused to stay there for personal reasons.