After working as a medic for years, Don began and operated his own construction business before an injury changed his life.
Four years ago, he slipped on tile in his bathroom and hit his head, fracturing his skull. He spent months in rehabilitation, losing some of his memories, much of his mobility and his ability to work.
“Today, I can walk using a cane, but other days I can barely crawl,” said Don, an Air Force Veteran.
That is why he is thankful for Macon County Ministries Food Pantry. Every month, Don goes to an early distribution open only to severely disabled individuals who live below the poverty line.
“I live on a very limited income,” he said. “I would go hungry without this.”
Don says he is able to get by because of nutrition from The Food Bank and his partially subsidized apartment.
Even for those who can work, employment is tough to find in Macon County, said Linda Ellis, who runs the pantry.
“Jobs are limited here,” she said. “Our clients, of course, are underprivileged, but everybody here today is living below the poverty line."
The Macon County clients are also grateful and gracious, she added. "It’s friends helping friends.”
Macon County Ministries Food Pantry serves disabled clients on the Monday before the third Tuesday of the month, with regular distribution on the third Tuesday. A typical distribution serves about 350 families, Ellis said.
Alvin, another client, said he and his wife rely on the produce, meat and other products they receive at the pantry every month.
“I’m 82 years old and on disability,” he said. “We don’t get much money, so this is nice.”
To those who make The Food Bank possible, Don expressed gratitude.
"Thank you," he said. "One hundred percent, thank you."