As he watched his grandsons chase each other across the blacktop outside the elementary school, Marshall looked amused, then exasperated, then reflective. Sam, eight, and Marcus, six, both attend the school, located in a working-class neighborhood on the southeast side of Grand Rapids.
School hasn’t always been easy for Marcus, who has ADHD, but he’s made progress. Marshall credits that to the teachers more than anything else. “They’re really outstanding,” he said.
Marshall and his wife are currently in the process of adopting their two grandchildren. The boys’ father was just released from prison, while their mother was recently sentenced.
“They almost went to the state, and we said, no, we can’t have that,” Marshall said.
Adoption isn’t cheap, though, and neither is Marcus’ medication. When you add those pressures to Marshall’s disability, which forced him to retire after three decades as a mechanic, and the cost of supporting the boys’ father, who is also living with him, it’s easy to see why he showed up to the school’s Mobile Food Pantry that afternoon.
Laid out on tables were bags of carrots, stacks of sweet corn, flats of Campari tomatoes, along with piles of potatoes, baked goods, fruit juice and yogurt. It’s enough food to last a family of four for half a week, helping ensure that, whatever difficulties they may face, at least their most basic need will be met.
For that, Marshall is grateful.
Before stepping up to the first table with his grandsons, Marshall admitted that his situation isn’t easy, but he said the challenges were beside the point.
“It’ll all be worth it.”
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