Mary Lasch grew up hungry. Now she’s committed to helping others through her local food bank.
As a child, Mary often went hungry. She remembers what it felt like to not have food. “There were plenty of nights I would go to bed hungry, and I remember just feeling sick and sad. I was very sad as a child — because hunger brings sadness.”
Struggling with hunger is now a piece of Mary’s past. She was able to overcome her difficult childhood. After high school, she joined the Air Force and spent her career there — recently retiring. She is married with a grown son and has a new career as a project manager. But because of her past, she’s made a point to remain connected to the issue of hunger through volunteering with her local food bank — Care and Share in Colorado Springs.
Mary began volunteering with the food bank during its annual holiday turkey drive. “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” Mary says. “So each year I’d rally up my office and make them donate.” Her passion grew, and soon she went from encouraging coworkers to contribute, to standing outside for 12 hours in the freezing cold collecting turkeys for families in need at outdoor drives. Mary wanted to learn more about the food bank she was volunteering for, so she signed up for an event it was held at its warehouse.
“When we first arrived at the food bank, we received a tour,” recalled Mary. “At one point, we came across shopping carts full of backpacks, and the guide told us that they were filled with food and given to kids to bring home. When I heard that I just stood there and cried, because all I could think was, ‘What if that would have existed when I was a kid? Things could have been different.’”
“If I would have had a program like the BackPack program back when I was struggling with hunger, maybe being a child wouldn’t have hurt so much,” Mary continues. “I can only imagine the joy it would have brought me to know that every week, I’d have a bag full of food to bring home — and I wouldn’t have to worry about having enough to eat.”
After learning about the programs offered by Care and Share Mary knew she wanted to do even more to give back to families facing hunger. Mary and her husband committed to volunteering at the food bank regularly, and they now volunteer every Thursday night and on any other day they can fit it in.
“Volunteering at the food bank has filled a void for me that I didn’t know I had,” said Mary. “I truly believe no one should go hungry — and by hungry I don’t just mean not feeling full, but not having access to food when you need it. I know what that feels like — and the thought that through volunteering, I might be preventing anyone else from feeling that way is truly rewarding.”
“If you’re thinking about volunteering — just do it!” Mary encouraged. “There are so many different ways you can give back to your community through your local food bank. Find what works for you and put your heart into it. You’ll make a positive difference not only in the life of someone who needs it but also in your own.”
Interested in volunteering? Find your local food bank to learn more about how you can volunteer and help struggling families where you live.