Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Mother, children get help from locals

Staff writer

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Quaylene Parkey was walking into Portales’ Wal-Mart when she noticed a pregnant woman with two small children in front of the store.

They had a bag of groceries, but seemed to be having a “melt down,” Parkey said.

Parkey began talking to the woman and learned she was dropped off at the store by an acquaintance to do some shopping and was waiting to be picked up. But she’d been waiting for eight hours. Clearly, the acquaintance was not coming back.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she had nowhere to go and had no resources to find a place.

She said she’d come to Portales from Stephenville, Texas, because a friend told her there was assistance here to help her start a new life. The friend’s information proved incorrect.

“I couldn’t leave them there, but I had no idea what to do,” Parkey said.

Parkey called a Clovis shelter, but said no one answered on that Memorial Day weekend.

So she decided to take the family to a hotel in Portales and pay for their stay. Parkey got the word out to her friends about the family’s situation and those friends and others stepped up to help.

Nine different people from around the community paid for nights of the family’s stay at the hotel.

Wendel Sloan heard about the family’s plight from co-worker Terri Doerr and paid for a night.

Sloan also took to Facebook to get the word out.

Parkey said not only did people pay for rooms, but some donated clothes, toys for the children and toiletry items.

“All they had was a tiny little backpack for all three of them,” Parkey said.

After almost two weeks at the hotel, the woman found a job and an apartment for her family, Parkey said.

One woman Parkey would not identify paid for a month’s rent and utilities.

Another woman, Shirley Tapia, takes her to work and back every day and has helped her acclimate to life in the new city.

“It was just so amazing to see the community come together to help a family,” Parkey said.

The woman’s children, ages 5 and 3, are staying at the Christian Children’s Home temporarily, Parkey said, but they visit regularly. The unborn baby will be placed for adoption, Parkey said the mother has decided.

Parkey and Sloan said the incident leads them to believe Roosevelt County needs a homeless shelter.

“Based on my experience, several of us were calling and trying to find immediate shelter for her. I called one shelter that is for people who experienced domestic abuse. She had not claimed it so they would not accept her, so I see a need for it,” Sloan said.

Parkey agrees the city needs a homeless shelter, but one that would provide more than just shelter.

Parkey said she believes a shelter should provide resources for employment and help provide a path to success.

“Shelters are so short term, which just makes people go to one after another until they run out of options,” Parkey said.

Parkey has no concrete plans for such a facility, but she is working to compile a list of resources the city can offer to help the homeless, since she found none when she first began trying to help the family in front of Wal-Mart.

“It’s a place to start,” she said.