Archive for the 'Stories of Hope and Courage' Category

October 24, 2012

Survivable Sustenance

Author: Maria Diestro

Mitch is a Vietnam veteran who served his country with distinction in the United States Navy. After the failure of a small business that provided his income, however, his economic challenges resulted in a situation of homelessness.

“I never envisioned myself as someone who would seek, let alone receive, public assistance for basic needs like food,” he said. Still, he reports being able to maintain a positive attitude and hope for the future due to being able to eat what he called a ‘survivable sustenance.’ And he is grateful for that help.

The food Mitch receives comes from an emergency food pantry supplied by Second Harvest Food Bank, and is supplemented by SNAP food stamp benefits. With the assistance of a Second Harvest outreach specialist, Mitch was able to submit an application for the SNAP benefits he was qualified to receive. Read More …

March 21, 2012

Budding Architect

Author: Greg Higgerson

Rudy is a seven year-old boy who lives in Greater Orlando. Like most kids his age, Rudy goes to school, tries to behave and to learn the things his teachers and parents have to show him about life. As a member of a low-income household, however, Rudy doesn’t always have access to the healthy fruits and vegetables his family struggles to afford. There are often enough calories to go around each week, but the nutritional value of the foods the family can afford aren’t always the best. Rudy told his teacher that sometimes he has trouble keeping his mind on what she’s saying, and that he sometimes gets distracted by a hungry feeling at school.

After school lets out each day, however, Rudy gets off the bus and goes to a local community center where he is enrolled at an afterschool program. He gets to play math and reading games, and other fun activities until his mother gets off work and can pick him up. Not long ago, when the staff at the center decided it was time to build a new playground, they chose several children to help out by providing input to the planning process. After attending an initial meeting at which the general concepts for the playground were explained, Rudy went home and pondered.  Read More …

December 7, 2011

‘Trying’ is the best we can do

Author: Greg Higgerson

Suzi is a nutrition educator in Brevard County. As part of her job, she visits public schools to teach kids about how important it is to eat the right foods every day. One evening, as she was filling up her car with gasoline, Suzi was approached by a woman she had never met before.

The woman pointed to a youngster in a nearby vehicle, and said “My daughter just pointed you out as the woman who came to teach her class at school today,
is that right?” Suzi replied that it was. “My daughter also said that to be  healthy, she needed to fill up half her plate with fruits and vegetables, is that right too?” said the woman.

Suzi was pleased that the girl had gotten the message she was trying to get through, and replied ‘Oh, yes!” with pride. Read More …

November 23, 2011

Someone like me?

Author: Dave Krepcho

It was the week before Thanksgiving, and one of our staff at Second Harvest Food Bank opened his email inbox and recognized the name of one of the senders as a personal acquaintance he hadn’t seen in a few years. He recalled Wanda as a very successful and talented real estate agent, and was pleased to hear from her.

Upon opening the message, however, it immediately became clear that the message wasn’t just a friendly hello. Wanda related that she and her teenage son had been struggling with tough financial times for a couple of years. She told of how she had been making more than $80,000 a year in commissions prior to the crash in home sales, and since had been getting by on just over a quarter of that amount per year in income.

She had burned through her savings, and admitted that one of them had been forced to skip meals recently due to lack of money. “And I can tell you it wasn’t my son…” she wrote. “I never imagined I’d need to ask for help, but would someone like me qualify for help with food?”

Wanda was referred to one of the more than 500 local nonprofit feeding programs that receive food from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to help her family get through the tough time. In a nation and community that is as wealthy in food resources as ours, Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to the idea that among all the things that struggling families have to overcome … hunger should not be on the list.

As you take stock of your personal situation this year, please don’t forget about the families who need help with food…. So many find themselves walking through the doors of a feeding program for the first time. Many who felt secure just one year ago are now struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Won’t you help us create hope for them right away? We appreciate any help you can give. Thank you again for your continued support of Second Harvest.

Dave Krepcho
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

October 14, 2011

Paper Plate Campaign – Part 2

Author: Jen Landress

When we began working on our Paper Plate Campaign I wasn’t sure what response to expect or how willing people would be to share their personal stories. Over the past month though; we have collected over 700 plates from sixteen of our partner agencies here in Central Florida

We have asked our neighbors who are receiving food assistance to share exactly what this food means to them and their families. Many people have shared the importance of food stamps for their families and how the emergency food they receive at pantries helps get them through the end of the month. Some families have even shared pieces of their stories which have led them to rely on help from others. Read More …

October 13, 2011

Not the Brady Bunch …

Author: Greg Higgerson

Christina is a native of Maine, and a 40-year old mother of three children. After working for years as an LPN nurse in her hometown, Christina and her family packed up, left their apartment, and moved to Orlando.  

Her husband had gotten a new job in our area as the driver of an 18-wheeler, and she had heard about lots of opportunity in healthcare jobs in Florida. In his first week on the new job, Christina’s husband was badly injured in a crash. One of his legs was broken up so badly that he nearly lost it. Not only would he be unable to go back to work quickly, but it became clear that he would likely be permanently disabled from the accident.     Read More …