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A Success Story

Working/volunteering in the pantry can be an emotionally challenging endeavor sometimes because almost everyone seeking assistance is in a state of crisis. There are some genuinely sad situations that we hear about every day.  Compassionate burnout is real and can happen to anyone and why it is so important we share success stories. Success stories remind us why we do what we do. I wanted to share a recent success story I heard that brought joy to my heart and hopefully will touch yours as well. 

At a recent Fresh Food for All distribution, a volunteer asked if she could tell me her story. She told me that about a year or so ago, she lost her job. In addition, to losing her job, she had several unexpected medical expenses without insurance. She listed a handful of other challenges that all seemed to happen around the same time in her life. She found herself in a financial situation unlike anything she had ever experienced and was missing meals.

She told me that she found one of our Fresh Food for All mobile distributions by accident. She was so thankful for fresh food. There was no other way she would have been able to afford fresh food. Holding back the tears, she told me that Fresh Food for All distributions gave her hope at one of the darkest moments of her life. Wow!

Life has improved for her, and she has a new job. She is still paying off her bills, but they are manageable. Now she volunteers to give others the same hope she received. Stories like this encourage me that we are making a difference.

The volunteers that gave her food at those distribution have probably forgotten the distributions from more than a year ago. However, our new volunteer family member hasn’t forgotten. The original volunteers will probably never know how important their smiles and kindness were worth, but that is the point. A smile and some produce may not change the world, but they can change one person’s world. We never know much how a smile, a kind word, or a helping hand can impact someone’s future.

Thank you to the unknown volunteers who were present to give our new friend so much hope. Thank you to all our volunteers. You make a difference and improve the world, one smile and bag of groceries at a time.