What a Difference a Year Makes

When I first met Kelly a year ago she was struggling to survive. Her husband had lost his job and they were skipping meals to ensure their daughters had enough to eat. As a fellow parent, that comment went straight to my gut. Like Kelly, I know that I’d do anything to make sure my kids have a roof over their heads, clothes to wear and food in their bellies.

After telling me about a back injury that was keeping her from working and how her husband had applied for dozens of jobs, she shared the tipping point that led her to seek help from a local food pantry, “I have peanut butter at home, but no bread to put it on.”

At a time of year when many people are enjoying holiday parties, baking cookies and wrapping gifts, Kelly’s life stopped me in my tracks. I’ve thought of her almost every time I pulled a jar of peanut butter from my own pantry to spread on sandwiches, apples and celery for my kids.

A few weeks ago I ran into Kelly at the same pantry, only this time under different circumstances. She was excited to share the good news: her husband is approaching his one-year work anniversary, she has found a position at her kids’ school and they have moved to a new, clean apartment.

“I’m not worried about us anymore,” she explained. After a year of accessing food from the pantry, Kelly was there one last time to say thank you and good-bye.

“Every can of corn, every bag of produce, it’s made all the difference for us. You have been a blessing to our family.”

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