Feeding Children is our Priority

Mediaon August 3rd, 2017Comments Off on Feeding Children is our Priority

Feeding Children is our Priority

My car winds down a shaded road running parallel to the Ohio River as I approach the small picturesque town of Warsaw, Kentucky. Laura is waiting to meet me at the local coffee shop. She is lovely, with a soft voice and long brown hair that frames her face. We get chocolate chip muffins and iced tea and sit down in a corner to chat.

Laura moved to Kentucky eight years ago when her husband, Brian got a job as a meat-cutter at the local grocery store. She has five children between the ages of 19 months and 20 years.  Laura also suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder that makes life challenging at times. The young family moved into a little house in the country where they struggled to make ends meet. It was nearly impossible to pay the rent, get the medicines Laura needed and purchase nutritious food for the family on a single income. Just when they thought life could not get any harder for them, it did. They were evicted from their tiny home and forced to move into a trailer. Laura and Brian were faced with the ugly reality of raising five children in an even smaller space.

Amidst her hardships, Laura despaired most about her inability to provide nutritious meals to her children. Mealtime became an occasion for anxiety and stress. “It’s difficult to plan meals that work for the entire family when you are on a limited budget. My children are at very different ages and have different needs and tastes. I just could not offer them what they needed to help them grow,” she says. Laura turned to the local food pantry for assistance. Gallatin County Food Pantry Inc., a trusted partner of the Freestore Foodbank was located only a few miles from her. The pantry supplied fresh produce as well as protein to supplement the items that Laura purchased from the grocery store. In addition, her children started receiving Power Packs from the local Family Resource Center, also serviced by the Freestore Foodbank. Power Packs are pre-packaged packs of food that are sent home with children over the weekend to make sure they have something to eat. “Power Packs helped because my children felt good about getting them and they offered a variety of nutritious and tasty meal options for the weekend,” Laura says.

Everything began to fall in place as soon as the family’s need for food was met.  “I felt that I could sleep better once I knew there would be enough food to put on the table the next day and that my children would not go to bed hungry,” Laura says. The support from the pantry gave Laura and Brian a chance to focus on solving some of the bigger issues. “We learned to make good choices. We consciously decided to pay the bills first before doing anything else,” Laura comments. Slowly they began to climb out of debt. As their financial life stabilized, Laura decided to go back to school.  She signed up for online classes and to train for a medical assistant degree. In a few months they were able to rent a house.

As her life stabilized, Laura’s children began to thrive. The continued help and support from Gallatin County Food Pantry alleviated their struggle. Laura shifted her attention to others around her who needed similar help. “When you live in a small town, people want to take care of one another,” she says. She volunteers regularly at Gallatin County Food Pantry. Laura is proud of her accomplishments and hopes to continue to help others while helping herself. “We could not have become stable without the help of the Freestore Foodbank,” Laura says. “Once we took care of providing food to everyone, we were able to focus on paying our bills and raising our children.” Laura is one of thousands of individuals who receive help from the Freestore Foodbank in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. To support us go to http://bit.ly/2f5UGfN