Before COVID struck, Sam was able to earn enough to take care of his home, manage his bills, and even take a vacation when he felt like he needed one. Despite his health challenges, he was able to pay his medical expenses and still be comfortable from what he made as an independent painting contractor.

But that all changed during the pandemic. Not only did the shutdown prevent Sam from getting any new painting contracts, but he wasn’t able to fulfill the commitments he had already made. “My health challenges became worse and my medical bills were out of control,” Sam said. “My savings went quick and I had to depend on a fixed income to pay my bills.

Honestly I became depressed because I went from being independent to being dependent upon organizations that help people in need.

“At first I hesitated to get help with food from Rock of The Valley Church of God In Christ’s food pantry but eventually I began receiving boxes of groceries every week. I must say the groceries are a tremendous help. I can pay my bills without worrying about whether or not I will have enough food to eat. Getting groceries has helped me physically and mentally. Since I’ve been coming to the food pantry my anxieties and depression has faded away as I’ve been able to pay down my medical bills and manage my household.”

Sam cannot work in the same capacity he could before the pandemic, but he’s getting back on his feet by negotiating contractor agreements for other independent contractors. “My goal is to give back to the community,” Sam said. “I am grateful for everyone involved in the food pantry. Thank you for your service.”