Florita’s 55th birthday is tomorrow, July 14th. She has just finished up her shift picking up litter with the Wear Gloves crew and she’s about to head home to spend time with her grandkids…which, you figure out is her favorite thing to do within five minutes of meeting her.
Florita started working for Wear Gloves in March of 2020. When the pandemic stopped operations, Wear Gloves continued to help her. “He sent me a couple cards for food and he let me work it off when I came back.”
In the past, Florita has struggled to find steady work because of her background with drugs, which she says was “pretty bad.” Things got worse for Florita when she and her husband split, and he had been the sole provider. The breakup “threw me for a loop.” But then she found Wear Gloves.
Her daughter worked for Wear Gloves before finding full-time work at a local gas station. Now, Florita is part of the Wear Gloves team. “…As long as you do work and come to work faithfully, you got you a spot. He’s heaven-sent to me” (talking about Ken).
Florita works Monday through Friday and Wear Gloves and having her car is a big part of her independence. Wear Gloves helps pays for her car insurance and gas, and then she has a few dollars left over for food. The day I talked to Florita, she was between places to live and was staying on a friend’s couch, but that didn’t dampen her attitude. She shared: “at least I got a job and I got my car.”
When asked what she thought about her co-workers on the litter team, she spoke very highly of them. “It’s like family. We help each other. That’s what I think.” When asked how she stays sober, she said:
“One day at a time. You have Miss Sandy here. If you ever fall short, she’ll pray with you. She’s a strong prayer warrior. Very strong. A lot of the people around here are with AA. I’ll be 55 tomorrow…I done wallowed in dirt long enough. Thank God. It’s a struggle, but when you have your independence, it helps. You ain’t really hurting for nothing. It pays my car insurance. I’m not on the streets, I’m not on drugs. I just eat and go home. And on the weekends, I play with my grandkids! Right now, I’m happy. Without this, I wouldn’t have my independence. That car takes me everywhere I go.”
Even though Florita doesn’t have a lot, she has been inspired by her work at Wear Gloves to give to others. She was the first person to take an Operation Christmas Child Box from the Wear Gloves office to be filled with gifts for a child in need. When asked why, she said: “They done helped me so much. It don’t take much to help a little bit. Some quarters here, some quarters there. Like I got some crayons I put in there so far. I got a little teddy bear that my granddaughter had won. She told me, ‘put it in there.’” So she’s making it a family affair. She shared: “My granddaughters want to help me fill it up. We’re all going to put one thing in a piece. I just thought it was something to give back to.”
What does Florita want others in need to know about Wear Gloves? “I would give it a try…especially if it’s hard and they’re trying to find a job. You don’t have to worry too much about somebody telling you no, as long as you can dial a phone or text a phone and you’re reliable. You gotta be reliable.”
Written by: Lori Cotton