Overcoming The Unexpected: Oscar’s Story

“I can provide for my family again.”

Northeast Iowa Food Bank


I used to work for a cable company. I grew up in poverty, and I swore that my family would never go through what I did. So, I chased the dollar – worked day in and day out to provide. We had it all, really – the house, the cars, even boats. But then I got hurt at work, and it all fell apart.

There was an accident that sent a piece of coaxial cable right through my eye. I was supposed to be out for a while, but it turned out that the cable ruined my vision and left me unfit for the job. I was left relying on workman’s comp, but that wasn’t enough to feed my family.

I did not want to visit a food pantry. I had promised myself that I would never be in a position where I couldn’t provide for my family. I’m not one to ask for a hand out. But there I was, without work and without food. My wife took it upon herself to go to the pantry because we had kids to feed. She began to insist I go with her. I did, and my life changed.

I was scared walking through that door for the first time. I thought I’d be judged – but really, I was just judging myself. Everyone was so kind. They shook my hand, hugged me, and helped me see that this didn’t mean I was a failure, it just meant that I needed help to get back on my feet.

Soon after, I began to volunteer at the food pantry. And soon after that, I was also able to start providing for my family. The food pantry gave me a hand up, not a hand out. I’m truly grateful for everything they’ve done. There are so many others out there who just need a little extra help to get there. I’m committed to helping as many people as I can feed their families and reach a brighter future, because my success is a product of their support.