Polk senior an answered prayer for homeless shelter

Published 5:17 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Fisher sells posters for senior project

For one Spartanburg, S.C. homeless shelter, Polk County High School senior Miranda Fisher is nothing short of an answered prayer.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Fisher, 17 years old, is the daughter of Kevin and Andrea Fisher of Mill Spring. She said she wanted to do something to help people for her senior project and chose humanitarian photography.

She had no idea when she started that she would end up raising money for The Haven, a homeless shelter for families in Spartanburg.

It’s like it was just meant to be, Fisher said.

Fisher and her photography and mission mentors Kelli Collins and Lori Lookadoo found The Haven while they were trying to find a project to help people. They went to visit and told the director they wanted to do something to help.

Fisher, Collins and Lookadoo learned The Haven was in dire need of funding to keep its doors open. They decided to create a poster with a photographic message to sell and donate the proceeds to The Haven. Fisher said she hopes to raise $10,000 for the shelter and then some.

Fisher said she learned something very valuable by getting to know the shelter families.

“I figured out quickly that homeless people aren’t worthless people or drug addicts,” Fisher said. “These are good people who are hard working, and it could happen to anybody.”

Fisher said she met one woman with two daughters and a son whose husband left them and who lost their house. The woman stayed with her mom, but came home one day and her mother had put all their stuff outside. The woman just started walking in the middle of the night with her three kids, ages 3, 5 and 9, and ended up at a gas station. Another woman saw them and picked them up and took them to The Haven, Fisher said.

Another family at the shelter has five children. The father’s truck broke down one day and he couldn’t make it to work so was fired. The family stayed with a friend for a week until the friend got evicted. The father found another job, but with a family of seven they can’t yet afford their own home.

“He’s got a job and he’s still in a homeless shelter,” Fisher said. “These are innocent babies that haven’t done anything wrong. It completely broke my heart and I was all about helping. When Kelli and I left [the shelter] I told her we’ve got to do something to help these people. You could read it all over the director’s face that we were an answered prayer.”

So Fisher and her mentors began making a plan of how to raise money. They discovered a project in Charlotte that created a poster for a homeless shelter there and built off that idea.

Fisher’s poster shows different frames of people, including the homeless residents, holding signs with words that create the Bible verse, Philippians 4:12-13. “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” the poster says.

Fisher said the verse just fit the people at the homeless shelter.

“The verse talks about knowing how it is to be taken care of and knowing how it is to do without and through God you can overcome and do anything,” said Fisher. “[The Haven residents] all realize if you don’t put God first they’re never going to get out of that situation.”

Collins and Lookadoo, who used money out of their mission fund to purchase the paper and printing plates for the posters, said they were impressed by Fisher’s compassion for people. Southeastern Printing of Spartanburg donated the ink and labor for the 1,000 posters that were printed.

This is not Fisher’s first project designed to help others. She has been on two mission trips to Nicaragua to feed families and to build a church and has also been to Red Springs, N.C. twice to build houses. Now she goes to school, attends Pea Ridge Baptist Church, works at Mountain View BBQ four days a week and babysits two days per week.

“Miranda was amazing with all the people at the shelter,” Collins said. “She related with them easily and the children absolutely adored her.  She was able to connect with them, which put them at ease when sharing their stories with her and allowing her to take their pictures.”

Lookadoo said Fisher’s dedication to the project was admirable, but the heart she gave to the people she met and the effort she put forth was amazing.

“To see a senior in high school so driven to reach out and make an effort toward changing lives for people is unreal,” Lookadoo said. “We were blessed to be a part of it and to watch the Lord work in her life.”

Collins said the experience gave Fisher the opportunity to learn more about people in desperate situations who just need a little extra help to get back on their feet.

“By helping Miranda I have seen just how easy it can be to impact the lives of others,” said Collins. “All it takes is recognizing a need and then acting on it. We can all help others if we just take the time to look for ways to contribute.”

To help Fisher’s project, people can purchase posters at Polk County High School or Mountain View BBQ. Posters can also be obtained by emailing dearadelphe@gmail.com or visiting dearadelphe.com, which is Collins’ and Lookadoo’s mission organization. Dear Adelphe can also be found on Facebook.

Fisher will also be attending several events soon with her project and is available for any local opportunities to tell her story. Contact Collins at 828-817-2011 for more information.