Last year at this time, Tashauna Richardson was facing a great deal of hardship.
Today, the Rocky Mount native uses her low times as an example to others about overcoming adversity through faith, and the importance of giving back.
Richardson was still mourning the loss of her sixth child, who passed away of tracheoesophageal fistula as an infant in 2012, when she was served a notice of eviction in November, 2013. The 30-day deadline for Richardson and her five children to clear out of her home fell on Christmas Day.
“While everyone was out planning for a brand new year, we were just trying to find a place to be,” Richardson told a crowd that came to hear her and others speak at Dew4Him Ministries in Zebulon on Friday.
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Through the help of a man who sympathized with her situation, and in what she described as an act of God, Richardson was moving into a new two-story home in Knightdale by Jan. 1.
That was just part of a wave of turnaround in Richardson’s life. At about the same time, her Rocky Mount-based Millennium Unisex Salon was receiving a paid-for overhaul. It was then she knew was supposed to use that space to give back to others.
“I reached out to Roger (Brantley) on Facebook,” Richardson said. “I never knew him or anything about him. I read one post of his and I immediately wanted to do something because God was telling me to do something right then.”
Brantley, the co-founder a local outreach ministry called SHARE, fed Richardson the idea of doing something special for children living in public housing in Zebulon. He said the arrangement is a fitting one, since Richardson had lived in public housing in Rocky Mount for eight years.
“She’s been through a lot,” Brantley said. “That goes to show you there are people who have been in the system who lived on public housing; they don’t want to be there. She found a way out. She kept her faith in God.”
Ever since, she’s been soliciting sponsors to help put on a Christmas party for 40 children from Zebulon at a restaurant in Rocky Mount.
Building support for the initiative was a non-issue.
“I think in the first hour she posted it (online), she had more than 100 people adopt children that desperately needed this,” Brantley said.
Richardson is also arranging for the local youngsters to receive free hair cuts at her salon as needed.
“I learned to give – not because I have much, but because I know what it feels like to not have anything,” Richardson said.
The session at Dew4Him, which offers faith-based life enrichment services for women, served as a forum for several similar services in the region.
Others represented Friday were Brown Bag Ministries, which provides free bag lunches on Saturdays to anyone in need; The Purple Shoe Thrift Shoppe, a domestic violence outreach store; An Elegant Affair, a Zebulon-based group that helps provide formal wear for underprivileged youth attending dances and other special events, wigs and hats for female cancer patients and other gifts for nursing home residents; and the Division of Social Services’ Work First program.