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Worth More Than A Can of Water Chestnuts…

This summer, we have been blessed to have Anslee Boozer blog about her experience as an intern with Loaves & Fishes.

It seems as though even when our shelves are full, our refrigerators are often empty. After transitioning to the Client Choice model no one seems to be selecting a can of water chestnuts or a box of dry milk. Clients are using their points on yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. Fresh food is often a luxury item for people experiencing financial instability, so when clients see our pantries’ stainless steel industrial fridges, their eyes light up. They begin to feel as though they are worth more than just a can of water chestnuts. They will be able to make their children a grilled-cheese for lunch, feed their babies yogurt, and stock their refrigerators with food.

Just last week as I was volunteering at the First Presbyterian Church Loaves & Fishes pantry, a lady checked in at the front window to shop for a family of seven. Can you imagine having to prepare and pay for food for 7 people when money is tight? After this sweet woman, Linda, hand selected different cans of food, fresh ground turkey, strawberry yogurt for her little girl, and blueberry yogurt for her older boy, we helped her push her cart out of the pantry door. It took a few of us to load up a week’s worth of groceries for a family of 7! After her car was packed full she reached for my hand and looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you so much. Thank you for all the work you do to make all of this happen. This was the first time that I got to go grocery shopping and it was fun! I did not have to add, calculate, and penny pinch for the groceries that I wanted for my family.”
She later told me that only 2 of her of seven family members were her children. She was caring for her mother and other children who did not have stable homes or safe environments to live in. These are our clients. Our clients are doing good for our community and doing good for so many other people. If we can continue to provide groceries and a fun shopping experience to people like Linda then we are also helping out so many other people. This is how we can make a difference in the community that surrounds us.

Loaves & Fishes loves being able to provide more food choices for our clients; yet, with an increased food selection comes an increased budget. Loaves & Fishes spends $10,000 on cheese and yogurt each month. It is worth every penny that we spend to see smiles and gratitude from our clients like Linda. We hope to be able to continue to provide perishable food such as yogurt and cheese to our clients but we are going to need help from our community. One container of yogurt costs $.39, if you choose to donate $20.00 you would be able to provide 50 containers of yogurt. One packet of cheese costs $1.49, donating $50.00 would allow us to purchase 32 packets of cheese to stock our pantry refrigerators.

Thank you so much for your support and donations to keep our refrigerators stocked full.