Eyes filled with tears, a North Carolina mother hung up the phone and sighed. Yet another voice had told her there was nothing their organization could do to help feed her children, and desperation moved into Theresa West’s heart.
It had been three days since her children had eaten. West had to get food on the table, even if it meant doing something illegal.
She went to her local grocery store and shoplifted around $36 worth of food for her three children. And it wasn’t long before the Hillsborough Police Department came knocking on her door.
Standing in the walkway were Senior Corporal Keith Bradshaw and Officer First Class Candace Spragins. A teary-eyed West admitted to stealing the food, explaining her reason to the officers.
“I had to go out and steal food, and that’s desperate,” West stated. “And I’m sorry for doing what I did, but my kids were hungry.”
West had reached out to other organizations for help before resorting to shoplifting, but it seemed that nobody could provide immediate crisis relief. West didn’t know where else to turn.
“We called the churches and everything and everyone was like, ‘We go through Interfaith Council, we go through this and go through that, and nobody would give us anything,” West told WRAL-TV. “We had nothing.”
Bradshaw confirmed that West’s refrigerator was heartbreakingly empty, describing it as “completely bare.” That’s when he and his partner, Spragins, decided to intervene on behalf of the struggling mom.
A woman who stole food for her childrenNow has a full refrigerator thanks to local police. WRAL Mikaya Thurmond has a preview to her story tonight
Posted by WRAL TV on Montag, 6. November 2017
While West stood before a judge, facing a misdemeanor larceny charge, Bradshaw and Spragins went back to the grocery store where West had taken the food. They purchased $140 worth of groceries and delivered it to West’s house.
West, who made bail, was able to return home to her children and a fridge stocked full of healthy groceries for her family. Her eyes filled again with tears, this time, tears of joy, relief, and hope.
“My favorite verse is Matthew 23:24, ‘Whenever I was hungry, you fed me,’” West told WRAL-TV. “I’m struggling so hard to make it and just to have somebody to come help me is just been a miracle.”
The Hillsborough Police Department knows they haven’t done enough yet to restore West to self-sufficiency. According to WRAL, the department will continue to partner with West and her family, making sure she gets connected with the right resources to help her long-term.
“Sometimes police work is not cut and dry,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We are people first and cops second.”
Bradshaw feels that doing the right thing is simply part of his work in serving and protecting his community. “It’s not all about just going out and charging folks,” Bradshaw stated.
The Hillsborough Police Department received an overwhelming number of community members asking if they could donate food or help in some way. The department has encouraged citizens to donate through local food banks and social service organizations “to ensure that maximum gain be achieved from this random act of kindness.”
“Sometimes you gotta go that extra mile and look for other ways of helping and improving your community and the quality of life for the people in the community,” Bradshaw expressed. “And if that improves her life a little bit and it helps her, I will do it again tomorrow.”