A Friendly Reminder
Season’s change. Our promise to you won’t.
Just as the seasons change and bring about new weather, we too find ourselves in stages of life that are more vulnerable to change than we would like. For Betty, a mother, grand-mother and former Cedar Valley Food Pantry client, this sentiment was true in more ways than one.
Betty hasn’t visited the Cedar Valley Food Pantry since the mid 2000’s. During this time she was working various jobs, supporting her children on what was little more than minimum wage. Working for minimum wage is hard to do with children as single parent. Luckily, her degree in Education allowed her to find employment at the school where her children attended. Not only did this give her more time with her kids, it provided her with meaningful employment that helped pay some of the bills. But when children start to grow up, life changes fast and the monthly bills grow faster than the clothes that an adolescent-growth-spurt renders useless. All of these costs fluctuate upwards far more often than corresponding increases in a paycheck. Betty needed to supplement this gap that was created from her additional expenses, but she couldn’t give herself a raise and she couldn’t stop her children from growing up.
What many people don’t understand is how important supplemental services like the Cedar Valley Food Pantry mean to someone like Betty who didn’t always need to use the Cedar Valley Food Pantry, but when she did, Betty no longer had the financial stress or fear of having to confront her kiddo’s when they ask why the fridge was empty. And the thing is, Betty’s story is not unlike other stories across northeast Iowa. We have found that on average most of our clients use our services only 7 months out of the year, as opposed to all 12 months. Statistically this shows us something that we all know too well, and that is that some months are certainly tougher than others.
Betty’s story doesn’t end there. Betty stopped coming into the Cedar Valley Food Pantry to get help supplementing her grocery bill as her kids grew up and left the nest, she didn’t need to supplement anything anymore. However, just as Betty’s kids grew older, so did she, and things haven’t gotten easier just because she has fewer mouths to feed. As we heard Betty’s story we soon began to realize that she was in a new stage of her life.
Soon we said goodbye to Betty with the shake of a hand, and in the other, an application for the Cedar Valley Food Pantry reminding her that we are still here if she needs us. You see, seasons can change and so can hunger. What doesn’t change is our need to be aware of it or how we can become aware of it.