A mother’s story: ‘I never thought I would be shopping at a food pantry’

“I’m a mom,” Jenny said. “And part of my responsibility is to feed my family and myself.” Parents would agree, feeding their children is among their top priorities. While that may seem like an easy task, there are too many families struggling with this basic necessity of life.

Jenny is a mom of two growing boys in the Valley. She said she did not realize what a luxury it was to go grocery shopping, until one day she did not have the money for it. “I never thought I’d be shopping at a food pantry,” she said.

It is a story heard far too often. Every year, the Valley Food Bank meets thousands of requests for assistance. These are individuals who may have become ill, lost a job, or met an unforeseen expense that demanded their money. As we put it: “Hunger knows no race, gender, age, job status or education level.” Jenny noticed that right away on her first visit to the pantry. It was a time in her life when she was fighting to keep a job, and fighting to put food on the table for her children.

“When I walked into the pantry, the people I saw there looked just like me,” said Jenny. “They were moms. They were people who worked, but just needed that little extra to make up for the lack of funds. There is nothing wrong with that.”

While Jenny does not visit the pantry regularly, she is aware that she can rely on it to make ends meet when she feels the pinch. She showed some of the items she recently picked up: sweet corn, squash, cantaloupe, cauliflower, tomatoes and bread. Jenny has become an ambassador in her neighborhood, letting struggling families know how they can get assistance too.