I never thought food pantries were for people like us. My husband, Tyrone, and I are both educated and have always supported ourselves. I thought food pantries were for homeless people or people who did not/could not work. That’s why when our struggles began, I didn’t consider going to one for help. But then I saw a flyer at our church. I went, and quickly realized I had been wrong. Food pantries are for people like us – they are resources for anyone who finds themselves in need of extra support.
Our downhill slide began when Tyrone lost job after getting hurt at work. I was in school at the time and getting ready to finish, but soon after I got really sick. I couldn’t work or go to school, and my family entered a dark time in our lives. Each month, we had to choose between paying the light bill and buying food. We were plagued by the stress of not having enough money to buy groceries. And there were plenty of times where we skipped meals so that our children – who are now teens – always had enough to eat.
I am so grateful we discovered the food pantry. The food and care it provided helped us slowly dig our way out from under. The nutritious staples helped me recover from my illness, and helped my children stay strong and healthy throughout our struggle. We haven’t recovered 100 percent yet – we still turn to the pantry to supplement our groceries from time to time – but we’re close. Tyrone has a full-time job now and I’m working part time along with volunteering at the pantry. I’m hoping to work full time as soon as my health fully allows.
As for our children, they are doing really well. Together we’ve created plans for each of them – to finish college and have a great career. Hopefully the struggles we’ve gone through will help them overcome any challenges the future may bring; and help them emerge from those challenges like our family has now – stronger and closer, with a heart to help others in need.