The following real-life story was related to Second Harvest Food Bank staff by Nora, a volunteer from one of our local emergency food partners just this week…
At our pantry program we recently had enough food on hand to compile some extra boxes of complete meals for some of the families we had seen throughout the year. During this season of the year, we like to do a bit extra for our families. Some have no telephones, so we simply drop by with the food.
One family in particular, a single mother with two children, was not home when we visited. So we left her a note on the door. Later that same day, our phone rang and we heard only sobbing on the other end of the line. The woman we had missed was crying because she had no food. Worse, she was afraid she had missed the opportunity. I promised her that I would drop a complete meal box to her on my way home.
As I arrived in the yard of the house, I could see a few children out in the yard. They seemed to be playing, but instead of toys I saw them holding bowls and spoons. I asked for the woman I had spoken with by name, and one little girl said “That’s my mommy!”
The little girl’s face was covered with dirt and mud. When I asked what she was doing, the girl replied “Making dinner, because my mommy doesn’t have any food.” Through the welling tears in my eyes, I could see that the girl was actually mixing up mud in a bowl, and had clearly eaten some of it. My mind thought “This can’t be … It just can’t be happening. Not in Orlando, Florida. ” I recalled how similar this scene was to some of those images of third world starvation and hunger that I grew up seeing on television. In MY own community! I left my box with the grateful mother, and quickly headed home, disturbed by what I had seen. Every day that I work in the pantry now, I remember that girl’s face. And you better believe that I work extra hard to make sure these families who turn to us are able to get what they need.
Last year alone, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida provided nearly 500 emergency feeding programs with enough food for more than 17 million meals. Won’t you consider what your special contribution could be today to help provide kids, seniors, and working poor families with the basics of food? Only you can help us to keep the food flowing to those who need it most.
Please don’t wait— people need your help right now. Thank You!
President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida