A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Stories from Thanksgiving at Fifth Street


Pictured above: John McClelland, Dwayne Edwards, and Johnathan Heath. McClelland and Heath are staying at the shelter currently. Edwards recently got his own apartment – WSIC photos

STATESVILLE, N.C. (WSIC NEWS) – It’s one thing to be thankful when things are good – a house to live in, food to eat you bought for yourself, and lots of family.

Thankfulness seems to have an even deeper meaning when life is not so easy. Despite obvious challenges, residents at Statesville’s Fifth Street Ministries say they have a lot to be thankful for this season.  WSIC talked with two shelter residents, and one former resident, at Thursday’s Thanksgiving luncheon.

John McClelland has an incredibly joyful outlook on life despite a terminal cancer diagnosis.

“I’m happy, I’m satisfied, I’m saved,” says John McClelland. “I depend on God, and when God calls me I’m ready to go.”

He’s been at the shelter about a month. McClelland says God delivered him from a drug addiction that was costing $1500 a week. He’s hoping to save-up enough money to get his own apartment in a few months. He wants to share his testimony for Christ and God’s love.

After spending a total of six months in the hospital this year, Johnathan Heath says he’s thankful for having God in his life and for the work of Fifth Street Ministries.

“You need to be grateful for everything that we get because it’s a blessing,” says Heath

Thursday’s lunch included ham, turkey, stuffing, sides, and desserts. Lots of volunteers were on hand to serve the residents.

Dwayne Edwards is a former resident of the shelter who attended the Thanksgiving lunch. He was once not allowed at the shelter for drinking and ultimately going to jail.

After living on the street, he was miserable. Edwards says he once gave the impression of being suicidal just so the hospital would be a warm place to stay.

“I prayed to God to let me die or to get a phone call from Miss Patty. Well, I didn’t die and I got that phone call the next morning.”

He’s referring to Patti West who runs Fifth Street Ministries and allowed him to return. Soon, he had a job. Edwards has since moved out on his own and says if people will work hard they can change their own situations.

Above all, he says be thankful for the loved ones in your life.

Author: WSIC editor