Life Happens

...and that's why we're here.

Service Story
Summer 2020


2020 has definitely shown us that life can throw some unexpected twists and turns. It only takes a moment for everything to be flipped upside down. And that’s exactly how Carlye Santee felt when finding out that her husband was laid off from his job he had been working at for a steady three years. Their income was only a fraction of what it had been, and they felt the effects quickly.

“We almost lost everything. We almost lost our house. We could barely pay our bills. We ended up having to sell our house so that it wouldn’t go into foreclosure,” Santee said.

As winter approached, Santee worried. She didn’t know how she was going to feed her toddler. Luckily she had heard of the pantry in Waverly, which the Northeast Iowa Food Bank serves. Santee showed up with a hope that they could help. She was then in disbelief as they handed her four gallons of milk.

“I don’t even know the words to express how happy I was when I walked out of there that day. I had no idea what I was going to do to support us and to feed us. They helped us when we needed it most.” She had to ask the gentleman handing her the milk just to be sure it was real. “Are you serious?!” she exclaimed. He responded by saying, “Yeah! Let me help you to the car with it!”

When asked about her initial reaction of first receiving food, Santee said she immediately told her husband that they needed to come back and volunteer when they got back on their feet so that they could give back. It was something that helped them when they needed it, and they wanted to make sure giving back was a priority.

“People take all the time, and they don’t always remember to give back,” Santee stated. Yes, life is unexpected, and everything can change in a minute. But that’s what the Northeast Iowa Food Bank is here for. We’re here to serve you and give what we can to help you through each moment.

Take it from Carlye Santee: “I couldn’t have made it in my time of need without them. I thank them for their time and their effort and everything that they do to help. There aren’t enough thank yous in the world.”