Carey Smith came to Inter-Faith Housing Alliance in 2013 with his son and daughter, aged 5 and 4, after their mother fell victim to a spiraling drug addiction. As a single father, he was taking on everything by himself while working full time and trying to support the kids—not just financially, but also emotionally. But with only one income to depend on, he couldn’t make ends meet. “Everything just crumbled,” he says. “It takes two adults to make it work in this world.”
When Carey got to Hope Gardens, he felt scattered. He says that the assistance he received from his Inter-Faith case manager gave him the tools he needed to “get things done on my own.” He credits the two-year transitional housing program with helping him become the person he is today. He’s proud to say that he and his family have maintained a stable living situation during the four years since they left Hope Gardens. While there have been ups and downs, they’ve gotten through them with the help of the money management, tax filing, and parental counseling resources that Inter-Faith provided.
Carey began his career as an author by writing music for local artists, so working with words has always been second nature. During his stay at Inter-Faith, he wrote a story for his children about a day in the life of a single father and his little girl, who loves spaghetti. When he read them the story, the kids wanted more, including pictures! He realized he had something here: “if my kids liked it, others might like it too.”
It wasn’t easy for Carey, a writer at heart, to put on his businessman’s hat and figure out independently how to get the book published, but he persevered. He hired a student from Arcadia University, who provided illustrations, and found a publisher. “The Adventures of Peggy Spaghetti” originally came out in 2016 and was relaunched in 2018 as a book series, with a new website, new merch, a theme song on iTunes, and a sequel, “Friends to the End,” which is scheduled to be published in September under Carey’s own brand, “Christopher Carey LLC.”
The new book has an important message for kids about manners, and the proper way to treat others who are different from them. “My grandma raised me to know that kindness makes the world go ‘round, and I thoroughly believe it can take you anywhere.”
Carey hopes his story inspires others facing difficult situations. “I made it this far,” he says, learning and managing at different stages of parenthood. “And I’m gonna keep on going.”
Carey Smith goes by the pen name Christopher Carey. His books can be purchased at www.peggyspaghetti.com with FREE shipping for all orders! Follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn @christophercareyllc.