A month or so ago I had the opportunity to visit one of our partnering pantry sites. This incredible pantry distributes to more than 250 families each week food that they pick up from the Valley Food Bank every Thursday. That day, I had the pleasure of meeting a vibrant 73-year-old woman named Cordie.
I noticed her right away. She walked slow and steady with the aid of a cane, but had a contagious smile on her face and bright blue eyes. As she walked up to receive food, she stopped and said hello to every person she passed. Everyone knew Cordie, and now I wanted to know her too.
We sat down and began talking. She told me she was there to pick up food for her family of four—she cares for her three great-granchildren, ages 14, 11, and 8. She said that the children keep her young but it is a struggle to make ends meet on her limited fixed income. Her husband died over a year ago so it is her and the little ones now. Cordie does not come to the pantry only for the food, but for companionship too. This community has helped her through many trying times.
I asked Cordie if she ever had to skip any meals in order to feed her great-grandchildren. She then asked me: “You ever have air puddin’?” Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about, so I asked. She told me with tears in her eyes, “Air puddin’ is a game I play with my great-grandchildren when we are hungry. I grab a bowl and a spoon and pretend to eat the world’s most delicious pudding. It helps to trick us into thinking we have eaten.”
I do not know about you, but I certainly do not want to live in a community where this kind senior and her beautiful great-grandchildren have to eat pretend food in order to feel full. Fortunately, she found the pantry where the food is abundant and fresh. She knows she can always find something that the young ones will like and a special treat for her. Cordie says she has not had to eat air puddin’ in a while and is so grateful to the generous donors and volunteers that make sure the food comes every week.
I watched Cordie shuffle down the line as she hugged every person who put an item of food her in basket as they greeted her by name. I know as much as we are helping Cordie, she is helping us too.