WE LIVE UNITED by improving the quality of life for families and individuals of our community who are living at or near poverty. Your UWJC support helps to feed thousands of people across Jackson County through the Fresh Food Initiative operated by the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. Throughout the summer months, this program provides quality, fresh produce to those in need. The following is a testimonial of a single mother who received food assistance through this United Way supported program.
I am a Navy veteran. I was honorably discharged after serving my country for four years on several detachments and deployments. I loved my time in the Navy. It was hard work but I got to see the world and I was always taken care of. It wasn’t until after I got out that my struggles really began.
I’m a single mom to two beautiful girls ages five and six. My husband and I split up a few years ago and unfortunately I don’t receive any support. I want to work hard and earn a living, but right now my daughters’ school schedules don’t allow it. Daeja is too young to attend school all day, and I can’t afford the daycare I’d need to work full time. I do everything I can to make the most of the few hours she is in school – I clean homes, landscape lawns; anything to make a little money to keep the shelves stocked. But as you can imagine, it’s not enough. There have been times when I didn’t eat so my daughters could. As a veteran, it’s really tough to ask for help. The Navy taught me to be independent. I was ashamed to admit that I couldn’t make it on my own. My daughters were the only reason I ended up asking for assistance. By giving us food, the pantry restored a sense of normalcy to our lives and gave us the strength and inspiration we needed to keep reaching for a better day.
I now know that a better day will be here soon. In a few months, my daughter will be old enough to attend full-time kindergarten, which will allow me to work enough hours to make ends meet. I’m not sure I’d be as confident about the future without the food pantry’s support. To me, the people there are angels, and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done.
Last summer 159,555 pounds of food was distributed to 5,033 Jackson County residents in need. Your support provided meals and made a difference in our community.