I stood there shocked. It was the day after my roommates and I had thrown a huge party. I had opened the cupboards and realized that we had literally been eaten out of house and home....
When I first moved out on my own there was a tremendous amount of adjustment time. I was young, foolish and unfortunately in bad company. To make matters worse, I didn't know how to budget, I had bills to pay, I had to finish my schooling and couldn't find a job better than a counter attendant/bakery assistant at a doughnut shop. I worked graveyard shifts for over a year at the wage of $6.10/hour and I did this while attending high school. How I did it, I really don't know. These were not the best times in my life.
I remember moving from cupboard to cupboard and feeling completely overwhelmed by the disparity. There was nothing to eat. To make matters worse, we had no money. Nothing. Not a penny until our pay checks, which were over a week and a half away. I knew I could eat one free meal daily at the doughnut shop but I had no idea what I was going to eat for my other meals.
That was when I realized it. We needed to go to the food bank.
I recall trying to think of an alternative. I believed that food banks were for homeless people and that I would be taking from someone more needy than I.
However, I soon realized that if I didn't go, there would be repercussions. I needed food to keep my mind and body healthy.
I swallowed my pride and went.
I recollect being fearful and wondering if they would turn me away. My stomach was in knots, partially from the hunger and partially from the anxiety of knowing that my life had come to this.
The staff at the food bank were kind, understanding and gave us more than enough food to get us through two weeks.
We used the food bank for almost a year.
This is something I haven't told anyone in my life... until recently. I was afraid of the judgment and stigma surrounding my helpless situation. I was concerned that others would think I was weak because I had to rely on a social service for help. I was frightened that friends and family would judge me for the poor decisions I had made in the past and I was concerned that it would impact what they thought of me now.
However, the reality is, we all have times of need. We all have moments when we have to reach out for help. At that time in my life I was thankful for the food bank. Their services helped feed my mind and body so that I could continue with my education.
A couple of decades later, I find myself regularly donating food and volunteering at the food bank. I've even written a post on the best ways to help your local food bank. The assistance that the food bank extended to me in my time of need will never be forgotten.
I hope that by sharing my real life success story, you will be encouraged to support your community food bank too.