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From Canon City, CO

Story Type: People We Serve

Programs Used: Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry

How We Helped: Hope

Carolyn Cook Ryan, or White Dove, has had an interesting life. Her Native American father built battleships during WWII. This job involved many chemicals that were not yet known to be hazardous and he brought these toxins home on his clothes. Her mother, who was pregnant with Carolyn at the time, used to wash his clothes by hand on a washboard, exposing Carolyn to the chemicals. Because of this, she has autism and spinal deformities. Carolyn is now a widow struggling with a very low, fixed income. She visits Loaves and Fishes in Canon City to receive food and clothing. In her youth, Carolyn was privileged to be a singer at the great Pow Wows that were held in the Garden of the Gods. Sometimes she still sings. One day at Loaves and Fishes, she noticed young men gathering for a meal. She started singing a song that she wrote. She thought she was just singing to three boys, but when she turned around, an audience had gathered and she was receiving a standing ovation! Carolyn says that Loaves and Fishes gives her hope and keeps her going. “If it wasn’t here,” Carolyn says, “it would be very hard; a very hard life. I’m very thankful. I don’t know how many times I can say I’m very thankful.”

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