As a single mother, Marge was struggling to put food on the table after paying all of the bills. Even though she needed help, she wrestled with how her family’s reputation would be perceived if they accepted government assistance, and ultimately looked to a counselor for advice.
“The lady suggested coming to the food pantry and if it wasn’t enough, then come back and go on food stamps.”
Marge didn’t have to return to social services because she found everything she needed at her local food pantry. Even though her first visits were tough, she was able to get help for her family.
“I was highly embarrassed. I didn’t know if people that I worked with were going to come through…”
The woman Marge met changed her life by asking her to start helping out at the pantry. Decades later, Marge is volunteering at her local pantry as a donation coordinator, working with people who are facing situations she has experienced herself. She has become an expert in making people who come to the pantry feel welcome.
“It’s just really, important to let them feel human, to let them know that they’re recognized…”
Looking back, Marge can recall feeling worried about her three kids. Although they faced tough situations, the overall experience helped shaped them into caring and empathetic adults.
“You know what I know where you’re coming from, we were poor.”
Even though Marge’s family helped here and there by buying the kids clothes and school supplies during difficult times, she chose not to rely on them for everything.
“You come to a point where you want to feel like you’re doing it for yourself. And that’s why I did it.”