Read Mercedes story and watch her video below. 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.
Mercedes and five of her grandchildren
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.