Rose remembers what it’s like to go hungry. She grew up in a family of eight children, and even though her mother worked hard to provide, she often couldn’t make ends meet. When the family ran out of food, Rose turned to relatives and friends for help. When that help wasn’t available, she would go hungry.
“Sometimes all I could do was go to sleep so school would come faster,” Rose said. “Because at school, there’s was always lunch and we could eat.”
Rose’s childhood experience is part of the reason why she’s passionate about feeding people facing hunger in her community today. In addition to working a regular job, Rose runs the food pantry at her church and has been since it started more than two years ago.
“In our community, there are so many people in need,” Rose said, “including so many children. When the children come through the pantry and get really excited about basic food, it makes you realize that they don’t have a lot – and it’s really touching to see how much of a difference you’re making in their lives.”
Beyond simply providing people with food, Rose has made it her personal mission to help the people she serves eat healthier food. She encourages people to try new foods, and provides recipes for them when they’re unsure of how to cook unfamiliar items. Rose says her local food bank has been instrumental in enabling her to provide healthier foods.
Additionally, Rose doesn’t just give her time to the food pantry, she donates her money as well – money that she earns as a manager at a local restaurant. “Many of us at the church give our own money to make sure we can run this pantry. That’s how much we care about it. Sometimes, we run out of food – we just don’t have enough and have to shut our doors. When that happens, we all reach into our own pockets until we find enough to buy more.”
“It’s important that people keep donating to our pantry and others,” Rose continued, “because the need is only increasing. And without places like this to turn to, people – including many children – will go hungry. We all need to do our part to make sure that doesn’t happen.”