These past two years have been rough. I lost five family members in 2020, including my mother on Mother’s Day. I also lost my job at the end of 2020. And COVID-19 continues to cast a shadow over everything.
Losing my mother was difficult for my family for many of the obvious reasons. But for my father, it was even harder. While he’s able to cook, it was my mother who did the grocery shopping. And, financially, he now had half the income he normally did. Given my father’s situation, I was helping to care for him.
On top of the changes related to losing my mother, I was only able to find temporary employment here and there after I was laid off. My granddaughter also came to live with me, so I had one more person to take care of.
I found myself in a very stressful situation, and luckily my aunt told me about a community resource – the St. Columbkille pantry. It’s a partner agency of the Freestore Foodbank, which is supported by generous neighbors in our community as well as organizations like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
The St. Columbkille pantry has been a blessing. Given my health problems, I found the food pantry’s drive-thru events safe, and I appreciate the variety and quality of food. It’s very nutritious – fresh produce, meat, and dairy. It’s all the right kind of food; food that we should be eating but couldn’t afford.
I am so grateful for the St. Columbkille pantry. In addition to supporting my physical health with nutritious food, their support has helped my emotional health. There’s no shame in needing help.
I often reflect on how the pantry has helped me. Before learning about it I was part of the “this is not for me” camp, thinking that food pantries were only for people who faced poverty or homelessness for years. But that’s not the case.
Food pantries are here for you, me, and anyone else when they most need help. Pantries do so much. We are blessed to have them in our community.
If you or someone you know needs help, go thefreestorefoodbank.org/connection-support/ . And if you’re so moved, you can also volunteer at a pantry near you.