CLEVELAND — Parents have a way of not letting on to their kids that they’re struggling, and judging by the looks of James Harris’ kids' faces Wednesday evening, he’s doing a good job at that. But truth be told, Harris is struggling. He lost his wife and the mother of his children, Narlene, in November to cancer.
“Every day I wake up and I think that she’s going to be right there and I see one of the children and I say ‘oh, she is right there,’ and that’s what makes me keep going,” he said.
Harris and his 10 kids live in Cleveland Heights, but as he adjusted to life as a single dad, he got behind on bills.
“We stay on our knees. We stay praying,” he said.
The answers to his prayers came in an unlikely friendship: Pastor Wayne Glenn. Glenn is the associate minister at Upper Room Bible Fellowship in Cleveland and said he heard about Harris’ situation through a missionary group and word of mouth at his church.
“They mentioned to us the family, the need. The dad was taking on the children and the responsibility by himself and he was in great need. As a church and people who believe in helping others we knew it was just one of those things that needed to be done,” said Glenn. “I was very impressed with his sincerity and how candid he was with me, that drew me closer to him.”
Glenn and the church gathered donations in any form they could get: furniture, space heaters, food, money, and, most importantly, friendship.
“The true value of what we have in life is what we do for others, not ourselves,” said Glenn. “I wanted to become a mentor to him, to keep in touch with him every day, just to check on his well-being to make sure that he stays strong.”
Harris said he’s overwhelmed and thankful for the support.
“Things have been coming through the front door, the back door, the side door, from food to clothing to heaters because we don’t have no heat,” he said.
While there’s still an uphill battle ahead of the single dad as he works to provide for the 10 children all under his roof, he knows he is not alone in the fight.
“He’s my brother. I know he isn’t going to let us fail,” he said. “You’re not alone. You’re never alone.”
Donations made to Upper Room Bible Fellowship will go towards the Harris family and help his family get back on their feet. Click here to help.