"As a polio survivor from an earlier pandemic and someone who experienced food insecurity as a child, this pandemic and lock down hit me hard. All of the childhood emotions bubbled up.

I couldn’t go into a grocery store because of my age. I was panicked and just wanted to hoard food. I needed to feel like I could do something, anything to distract myself.

As an avid quilter and one who runs a long arm quilting business, I had quite a stash of fabric. When people started to panic at the lack of available Personal Protective Equipment, I stepped up and started making masks. I donated over 600 to local hospitals, nursing homes, friends and relatives all over the country. I engaged my quilting guild in the project and they have also donated to jails, group homes, care facilities and various other places where there was a need. I just kept my head down and sewed. But the food issue was still looming in me. In response, I knew that I had to do something for families that were facing food shortages. I kept sewing masks but paired up with my daughter, Tanya. She started selling the masks I made. Every cent went to Valley Outreach for their food programs. So far, we have raised more than $3,000 with our efforts. It feels so good to do this in support of our community. It has helped to heal the hungry ten year old girl deep inside of me."

We are tremendously grateful to René   for sharing her story and her generous heart with our community.