"I was ashamed of going and trying to get food, because all my life with my children I worked. But I said DiDi, you have to put your shame aside, because you've got six babies that you have to feed, and being ashamed is not going to feed them. So through Love and Action, the local food pantry, I'm blessed to feed them every day."
Mercedes raised her children entirely on her own. But when her daughter was tragically killed, Mercedes was left to care for her six grandchildren. It was time to ask for help - and her local food pantry was there.
"Without the food pantry, I would not be able to feed my daughters healthy foods that I cannot afford all the time."
Even though she works full-time as a caregiver, Claudia was still having trouble putting food on the table for her five daughters. Then she found her local food bank. Now, not only does she get the food she needs for her family, she also volunteers on a regular basis to serve others in her community that need a little help.
"No one ever thinks that this is going to happen to them. But when you do find yourself in this situation, it's so nice to know that there are people out here to help us."
When Gaby and her husband lost their jobs, they were faced with hard choices in caring for their young family, like paying the electric bill or buying diapers. But thanks to her local food bank's mobile food pantry and the BackPack Program, she has enough food for her family and hope for their future.
"In the summer, I go to the lunch program to get free lunch ... it's really fun and you can make a lot of friends there. If I didn't have the lunch program, I'd probably be really, really sad."
Zoey's mom works from home, but sometimes it's still a struggle to make ends meet. So Zoey goes to her local food bank's summer lunch program where she can get free lunch — giving her the chance to be happy, healthy and just be a kid.
"Even though you're working, you always come up short in some kind of way ... If you need help, you have to ask. So I asked for help. And the food pantry was a blessing for me."
When Derek became a single dad, he didn't know how he was going to make ends meet. But he was determined to care for his family — and that's where his community's food pantry made all the difference.
"I'm honestly just seeking help, not a free a ride for the rest of my life. Just help."
Pricilla, a Navy veteran, can't afford childcare, and so she takes care of her daughters on her own — which keeps her from working full-time. Her local food pantry helps put food on the table and provides hope for her daughters' futures.
"I am so optimistic for my future. I am so close to getting my Bachelor's degree that I can almost feel it. And then maybe now instead of having to go the food pantry to get food, I'll be able to go and drop off food for other people."
Samantha lives with her three children and husband, and though she's working toward her Bachelor's degree, her family of five currently lives off of $22,000 a year. When her children are out of school during the summer, she relies on her local food pantry for consistent meals — giving her family the support they need to build the lives they deserve.
"The food bank has been a lifesaver. It's turned a situation that could've become hopeless and living in despair to where we can feed our son, we can feed our family, and we can hold our heads up high."
Victoria and Steven moved their family to take care of an aging parent — but to do it, they spent their savings and suddenly found themselves starting over. But thanks to their local food pantry, they were given the support to create a new life for themselves and their son.