Jack’s Story: We Just Needed the Extra Help

Jack, an 88 year-old WWII veteran, turned to the Kroger Community Food Pantry to help make ends meet when he and his wife Ruth took in their granddaughter and two great-grandchildren. “We just needed the extra help.”

World War II veteran, Jack, is 88 years old. When he and his wife Ruth took in their granddaughter and two great-grandchildren to live with them, they needed extra help to make ends meet.

A year ago, Jack told Ruth, “I’m going down to Mid-Ohio Foodbank and see what they have to help us.” When he arrived, he received a warm welcome and healthy, nutritious food. “It wasn’t too difficult to come in for help and the pantry staff was nothing but good to me,” Jack shared.

While visiting the pantry for the first time, Jack ran into a friend from church who was volunteering. Jack started volunteering the following week and even though his granddaughter and great-grandchildren have moved out, he often gets food after his volunteer shift because he and Ruth still need a little extra help.

Fresh Food for Healthier Meals

I do the shopping for my family – it’s me, my parents and four younger sisters.

It was hard to find healthy choices we could afford. Now that we can get fresh food from Mid-Ohio Foodbank, I’ve lost 90 pounds!

I make up recipes based on what is available at the pantry, and I take pictures of my creations. My sisters like apples and bananas but aren’t sure about the things I cook. I’m working on them!

Thanks to Mid-Ohio Foodbank, I can make healthy meals for myself and my family.

A Family Loyalty in Making Ends Meet

(Story told to Foodbank employee by 14-year Maria – a visitor to the Kroger Community Pantry)

Last summer, I walked down to our pantry, something I do often, to make sure that I’m staying close to the client — trying to learn from, and share with, each other. Upon arrival, I noticed a teenager who was helping her mother push their grocery cart. I started chatting her up and was really impressed w/ her poise, confidence, how she articulated things, and most of all – her constant attention to her mom. Maria, so-so proud of her family—told me that she had (2) siblings, mom, dad, and now her nana and papa (her mom’s parents) who live in their home – a total of 7. She also said that she didn’t get to see her dad as much as she wanted because he worked a full time AND a part time job so that mom could stay home, take care of the kids and her aging parents.

It so happened on the very same day, the Foodbank had received a load of fresh, juicy peaches – straight from the farmer’s field. I encouraged Maria to bag up a bunch of the peaches to take home. She was really eager to do so! I tossed one to her – to have a tasty snack while she was shopping with mom.

And then I was stunned — because Maria said “no” – she couldn’t take and eat the peach I offered. I tried again, and again she politely said “no” and added — because it’s not my day to eat!” You see, each member in Maria’s family had an assigned day that they simply did not eat. Maria explained that it was her family’s strategy to miss a day of eating to stretch their grocery budget. Each and every one in the family was steadfast in their pledge to the plan and to each other. I couldn’t help it – my tears got the best of me. And it was Maria who told me “not to worry” — her family would make sure they saved one for her the following day. It was this beautiful, courageous, loved 14-yr old that was comforting me.

To this day, I cannot truly enjoy a plump, juicy, tasty peach without thinking of my friend – Maria.