By Joe Johnson
An Athens businessman who clawed his way out of poverty, homelessness and petty crime this month will continue his attempts to contribute to the less fortunate residents of the county.
Last year Lenor Penford used his company, Penford Trucking to host its first annual Feed the Homeless event at The Sparrow's Nest, a Christian Ministry that provides services for those in need.
This month, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 28, Penferd will be distributing free hooded sweatshirts to children in his company’s inaugural Penford Trucking Hoodie Drive.
The event will be held at Synovus Bank (formerly Athens First), 150 West Hancock Ave, a centralized and COVID-19 safe location, where parents can drive up, say what size hoodies they need and drive away.
“The reason I’m doing this is because I grew up poor and I know how hard it is when kids only have one parent or no parent,” Penferd said. “It’s hard growing up in an environment where it’s a lot violence. I want to show the kids that people from where they are from give back.”
Penferd was one of seven children of a single, teenage mother who struggled to make ends meet. He grew up in the Bethel Homes and Jack R. Wells Homes low-income housing complexes, an environment he said led him to make lifestyle choices that did not reflect the person he really was.
“To help my mother I began to sell drugs at the age of 11 so I could have school clothes,” he said.
Penferd fell into a life that consisted of living in abandoned homes and shelters, selling drugs and serving time in jail.
“After a life of making bad decisions and wasting valuable time of my life incarcerated, I decided to make a change for the better,” he said.
He obtained a commercial driver’s license and in 2018 started up his own company, Penferd Trucking LLC.
Penferd found he was now in a position to pay forward his newfound success.
“I give back because of the things I had to endure as a child --homeless, homeless shelter and poverty. Knowing things my mom had to go through I want to help kids like me,” he said.
“Your current situation does not determine your future, there is always time to improve your life,” he added. “Penferd Trucking encourages everyone to partake in random acts of kindness in their daily lives.”
For more information, Penford can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.