'We're a great team:' Mom and son rise to fight hunger together

DeAdra Lee struggles to feed her 3-year-old son Dacian, who has autism.
May 9, 2019
by Paul Morello

Mothers are incredible. And In some cases, on top of all the amazing things moms do, they also struggle with hunger. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing the inspiring story of a woman who is fighting hunger, raising a son with autism and trying to find a new start for her family.

DeAdra and her 3-year-old son Dacian are an incredible team. And over the last few years, they’ve been able to overcome tremendous obstacles together.

The mom and her son moved from Chicago to Florida two years ago, “with Dacian as my co-pilot,” DeAdra recalls. 

The move was supposed to be a fresh start. But their new life has had a few more twists and turns than expected. 

Soon after they moved, Dacian was diagnosed with Autism.

“It’s changed my life entirely,” she said. “Dacian is my full-time job now.”

DeAdra Lee struggles to feed her 3-year-old son Dacian, who has autism.
DeAdra and her son Dacian at their home in Bradenton, Florida.

DeAdra had every intention to work when they moved to Florida, but because she doesn’t have a budget for specialized daycare, she needs to stay home to take care of her son.

But this mom is resourceful. She’s resilient. And she knew she had to do something to feed her family while she took care of Dacian without a job. So, she turned to a local food pantry for some extra help. And the food has done more for the family than DeAdra could’ve ever imagined.

“The healthy food we receive has helped Dacian socially and with his speech,” she said. “I see this kid emerging that I never thought I’d see. And now that chance is really there for him.”

DeAdra Lee struggles to feed her 3-year-old son Dacian, who has autism.

DeAdra hopes that in a year or so she’ll be able to get Dacian into a public preschool for kids with similar developmental issues. And once that happens, she can find a job. But in the meantime, despite all the challenges she’d had to overcome since moving to Florida, DeAdra wouldn’t change anything.

“Dacian has been my strength. Him and I, we’re a great team.”

This Mother’s Day, help moms like DeAdra access the food they need to fuel themselves and their families. Donate today.