Stories of support and sharing…
When Kate returned to volunteer at her local pantry, she couldn’t believe how things had changed in the decade since she’d last been involved. The regular twenty-five or so people she remembered coming in from week to week had grown to more than one hundred – and so many younger families with children! Food donations had grown too; but not enough to meet the needs of so many families. Long gone were the days of overflowing shelves and extra food for large families. One weekday morning, as Kate looked at the bare pantry shelves, panic started to set in. What would she say to the families coming to the pantry on Saturday? She called Sharon at MEND’s office and told her of the situation. Within a day, a small truck arrived at the pantry, filled with essential grocery items. Kate and the other volunteers restocked the pantry shelves and filled the bags, ready to open the pantry, as usual, and provide emergency food supplies to families in need.
Sixty-two year old Peggy* is disabled and has been getting by with the help of SSI benefits. In the spring, tragedy struck her family when her son was shot and killed. After the shooting, Peggy took custody of her twelve-year-old granddaughter, Tessa*. She is grateful to be able to care for Tessa, but making ends meet is a struggle. At her local pantry, Peggy receives much-needed groceries each month. And during this holiday season, MEND’s Help–A-Family Program, allowed Peggy to shop for groceries and prepare a delicious Christmas dinner. And Tessa found some new clothing all wrapped up and waiting for her on Christmas morning!
Susan* is sixty-four and a dedicated long-time volunteer at a MEND pantry. This year was a tough one for her family; her husband died and she lost her home to a fire. When she found a new apartment, her granddaughter’s family came to live with her. Throughout all of this, Susan has continued her volunteer work at her local pantry. And during her family’s recent crisis, Susan knew where to go for help; her local pantry was able to provide food for her extended family.
Throughout the past year, MEND pantries have helped two single moms fighting cancer as they struggle to feed their families on limited incomes. One has been out of work since the summer; the other is continuing her studies towards a degree, raising her young son with the help of her mother. And because of MEND’s Help-A-Family Program, both families were able to experience the holidays with a little less worry —one mom prepared a Christmas dinner with the kitchen supplies she had hoped for and received, and her daughters had new pajamas to wear and dolls to play with on Christmas morning! The other mom was able to watch her young son open gifts and delight in his new sneakers.
*Names have been changed