Carson City opens hearts, wallets to local couple
Since their story appeared in the Nevada Appeal last week, Kurt and Trilby Cunningham haven’t had to stand on a street corner panhandling.
“Saturday morning first thing right at 8 a.m. my phone started ringing,” said Kurt. “I had to buy two phone cards just to get the 114 voicemails left for me.”
The outpouring of support for the Carson City couple came in the form of cash, food and work. People even brought food for Trilby’s service dog Rocky, who alerts her when her blood sugar is low. There have been so many donations of dog food, said Kurt, that he’s sharing it with some neighbors he knows who also are down on their luck.
In October, when his unemployment ran out and there was no food in the fridge, the Cunninghams took to the street corner and began panhandling to pay their bills. Their story struck a chord with many in the community.
Kurt, a journeyman carpenter, was offered several odd jobs. He said his next 30 days are full from all the piece work he’ll be doing. Trilby picked up a housecleaning job three days a week.
“We’ve probably received $700 in cash,” Kurt said Friday. “And another lady called me today and gave us money and brought a toy for Michael.”
Later in the day, he had his 10-year-old son call the woman and thank her.
John Burkholder was among the people who offered help. He hired Kurt to paint an apartment Friday.
“I needed it done and instead of me doing it, I thought here’s a way to help him out,” explained Burkholder. “It’s an unorthodox solution to his problem, but at the same time, the guy really wants to work. He’s a hard worker. He’s not like these other people who were begging, saying gimme, gimme, gimme. All he wanted was a chance to make some money for his family.”
The publication of the Cunninghams’ plight also prompted unemployment to take another look at his claim, Kurt said.
Monday morning, a representative called and told him he was still eligible to receive benefits. Within hours, he was back on the unemployment roster.
“The response was overwhelming, I can’t believe it,” Kurt said. “My rent’s paid and we have money in the bank.
“I just want to tell everybody thank you, from my family to theirs. Sometimes it takes divine intervention. Carson is a town of angels.”
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