From a child receiving a hot lunch to a volunteer sorting apples to a truck driver delivering donated food to an individual making a donation. These are the stories that paint the full picture of the issue of hunger in America.
I’ve been a single dad to my three children for the last six years. One day my wife drove up, dropped off the kids and said she was leaving. It’s been just us four ever since.
I work full time in security for the St. Louis transit system. I work nights so I can be there for my kids during the day. You know, even though I’m working and doing well, I still always come up short – between paying for clothes, insurance, school supplies. Things get expensive.
When I first started raising my children, there were a lot of times when I’ve wondered where I would get the food to feed them. Sometimes I’d only eat once a day so I could make sure they would have three meals. I did not want my children to ask me what was for dinner and have to say there was nothing.
There came a point when I knew I had to ask for help – that I could not do this all on my own. It’s a humbling experience, going to a food pantry, but you got to do what you’ve got to do. The pantry gives me healthy food to feed my kids. Since I found the food pantry, I’ve never had to worry about my children going hungry.
The food pantry has been a huge blessing. And I do hope that someday I won’t have to use it anymore. But in the meantime I am so fortunate that it is there to help. And to everyone that makes the food pantry possible, I am truly thankful to you.
I spent my youth in the Navy, and when I got out I began working as a chef. I knew nothing and so I taught myself everything. I worked hard, and eventually worked my way up. I helped open one of the most prominent restaurants in Boston and in the meantime married my beautiful wife, Tammy, and helped raise our three children.
Cancer is never something you expect. After noticing some symptoms, my wife convinced me to see a doctor. He gave us the news: Melanoma. Suddenly, everything changed. Once you're diagnosed with cancer, your life will never be the same.
The chemo and surgeries left no room for my career. I couldn't work. My wife tried to keep working but it was too much — being my caregiver and raising our three kids demanded every minute of her time. Tammy worked harder than she's ever worked — but unfortunately, it wasn't for any pay.
With no income, we went through our savings and my 401k before hitting rock bottom. We had no money, but we still needed to eat. My wife knew about the food pantry through her work with a local nonprofit— but neither of us wanted to visit. We didn't think it was for people like us. Ultimately though, we swallowed our pride and did what we had to do to feed our family.
When I visited the food pantry, I realized I was wrong. It was for people like us — people who simply needed help during a tough time. By providing us with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and more, the food pantry helped my family survive during a time when I was too sick to provide. I am incredibly grateful for their help. I can deal with cancer, but I'm not sure I could deal with my children going hungry.
These past few years have been devastating to all of us, but the good news is, I'm cancer free now. I still have a significant amount of physical therapy to go through before I can go back to work, but I'm hopeful I'll get there. With the support of my family, I know I can do anything. They've been my rock; my heroes. Together, we've persevered. Together, we've emerged from this challenge stronger, thankful and more hopeful than ever before.
Tragedy struck my life two years ago. My daughter was killed, leaving no one but me to raise her children - who range from age two to 14 - including a set of five-year-old twins. Coping with the death of a daughter and six new mouths to feed is tough. But I didn't ask for a dime, I just stretched the dollars I earned as a full-time caregiver to the max — until I lost my job.
I know these children have gone through so much — it's painful to look in their eyes and know they will never see their momma again. I want to provide everything I can to my grandchildren, but after losing my job, I would lie awake wondering how I was going to feed them. That uncertainty — it's not a good feeling.
I learned about the food pantry — supported by Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana — through a friend of mine who saw me struggling. You know, I didn't go right away because I was ashamed. But then I realized shame wasn't going to feed these six children. When I showed up at the food pantry, they took care of me. They gave me food and said "If you're ever running low, you just call us. Even if we're not open, we'll make sure you have enough to feed those kids." Since then, I've never had to worry about feeding my grandchildren. The food pantry has been my angel.
The past couple of years have been tough on all of us. We have our bad days, but we have our good days too. The support I receive from the food pantry has helped me get through, and so has the joy I find in my grandchildren. Every time I look in their eyes, I see a part of my daughter in them — and I know she'll always be with us. Life sure has thrown us a hard ball, but if we hang in there and stick together, things will be all right. I know eventually, we're going to come out on top.
Today our church has decided to partner with the Maryland Food Bank of Anna Arundel County to help with the back pack program. We already have mobile feeding unit and food pantry to help the less fortunate we didn't know how we were going to help with another program but we received a call from the food bank telling us they had partnered with Giant Food and Target stores and wanted to support us with this. We also received phone calls from two local area schools telling us they were collecting for us to support the program. God works miracles by putting good hearted people in our path willing to help now we can help in the war on hunger in another way God is so good.
I have been living with diabetes for several years. A couple years back, a friend told me about a diabetes management class offered by the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. I thought it sounded perfect, because diabetes is a pretty serious disorder, and I was not staying on top if it properly. So I signed up.
The classes educated me on what foods I should eat, how to prepare those foods and how to manage my medicine. Equally important however, the classes provided me with a strong support system. Walking into the classes, my face would light up — just like a light bulb — because I knew I was walking into a community of people who care.
As it turned out, I would need that community more than ever. About midway through the course, I was laid off from a job I had been at for 33 years. I was devastated and my income was immediately reduced. Left to live off of a fix income, I struggled. I definitely couldn't afford to buy the good foods my classes were recommending.
But then I learned that the Food Bank of Corpus Christi also runs a diabetes management pantry. What a blessing! After visiting, I walked out with a box of foods aimed at improving my health — like whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruit and vegetables like Brussels sprouts. I do love Brussels sprouts.
The diabetes programs have been a life saver for me. Through this program, I have lost 40 pounds, and feel healthier than I have in a long time. I wouldn't be in the same situation without the help of the food bank. They've given me so much more than food and education, they've given me hope that I'll be able to see my son graduate college, meet my grandchildren and enjoy my retirement.
Diabetes is a serious disorder, but it doesn't have to control me. The food bank taught me that. Now I'm in control of my future, and from where I'm sitting, the future looks bright.