Millions of people face hunger on a daily basis. Hunger can happen to anyone, at any time. Families in need often turn to local food pantries and meal programs that provide meals and grocery items for help. These organizations can make a significant impact, which is something I learned from personal experience.
Today, I’m a district manager for Fry’s Food Stores in Phoenix. However, many years ago, I was a single mother to two young daughters and working part-time. I can remember struggling to make ends meet and worrying about how I would put food on our table. Thanks to the help of our local food pantries, I was able to take care of my family and continue what’s become a nearly 40-year career in the food retail industry. My children and I wouldn’t be where we are today without the support we received.
Now, I have the opportunity to help others in my community both in my personal life and at work. Helping others in need, potentially other young mothers in a situation similar to mine, is one of the reasons I’m motivated to continue finding new ways to give back.
For more than six years, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the board of directors at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, a member of the Feeding America network of food banks. St. Mary’s is the world’s first food bank and distributes more than 250,000 meals a day to food pantries and meal programs that then distribute them directly to people facing hunger throughout Arizona. By volunteering with this organization, I see firsthand how much these programs help our neighbors every day, through food drives and meal donations.
This is why I choose to continue helping people in need in our community. Too many people suffer from hunger. It’s important that we continue to raise awareness around the need to alleviate hunger. In Arizona alone, 17.8 percent face hunger—including more than 456,000 children.
As part of my role at Fry’s Food Stores, I’ve strengthened our partnerships with local food banks such as St. Mary’s. By working with these organizations, we’re able to help feed more people in our community through food drives.
Fry’s provides meals through events like our annual Bringing Hope to the Table Food Drive, where we offer the opportunity for individuals to donate funds or food items that are taken to local food banks. These donations go directly to feeding people in our community and can mean the world to a struggling family.
To demonstrate the impact of these partnerships, I’ve organized several team volunteer activities at our local food pantries. At these events, our associates see firsthand the excitement on the faces of children and their families as they receive a meal. It’s humbling to see how these donations touch the lives of the people in our community.
I hope for a future where no one worries where their next meal will come from or suffers from hunger. As long as there is a chance that there are children, adults or seniors who may go to bed hungry, I will continue to serve as their advocate in the fight to end hunger.