When we were first married, about 13 years ago, my husband and I were working as ski patrollers in the Oregon mountains. I was working full time, but I was also in school to get my undergrad. Money was tight, but we got by.
Life happens though, and I became pregnant with our first child, and then a year later, our second. Between paying for food, rent, tuition and daycare, our low-wage jobs weren't making ends meet. Despite the fact that each of us worked and worked hard, we did not have the resources to buy our children the nutritious, healthy food they needed to grow strong. That would hurt any mother, but I was studying to be a registered dietician, so I think it pained me even more.
I first heard about the food pantry through a friend. Going to a food pantry isn't ever something ever you want to have to do. It was difficult to walk through those doors. But ultimately it was about my children and my family's future. I did not want to have to make the choice between quitting school and jeopardizing our opportunity for a more stable future and feeding my children unhealthy food.
The food pantry provided us with good protein, whole wheat pastas, fruits and vegetables and beans. It helped me make complete meals that I felt good about feeding my kids. It also allowed me to stay in school. I am now a registered dietician and can provide the kind of life for my family that we've always dreamed of – we own our house, take vacations and even ski for fun. We are even at a point where we can give back now, to those who helped us in our time of need.
Without the food pantry I don't think my family would be where they are today. It served as a stop gap measure during those tough months – and enabled to get through to a brighter, more stable time.