Humans Against Hunger: Laurie
Laurie is a single mom and full-time support worker in South St. Paul. The help she receives from The Open Door Pantry in Eagan allows her to keep food on her family’s table.
“I grew up in New Prague on a farm. Then I became a medical assistant and got married when I was 21. We had three kids with a range of disabilities, and it led to my husband and I getting divorced. I had two more kids along the way, and they also have health issues. I always had a home for them, but often child support would get messed up or wouldn’t come through, so I used food shelves a lot."
“My 15-year-old daughter Talitha has a rare disease called Ataxia Telangiectasia—only 500 people in the world have it. She also got cancer in 2013 and fought that for three years. She still requires round-the-clock care, so I work as a paid parent taking care of her. That means we don’t qualify for SNAP, so I rely on food shelves in Dakota County, especially The Open Door Pantry in Eagan."
“I do the gardening program through Open Door. We plant a garden plot with donated seeds, and whatever we don’t eat ourselves we donate to the food shelf. This year I got a handicapped spot with a raised bed, so I don’t have to bend all the way to the ground. I’m growing beans, beets, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cukes, and squash—all organic. Talitha will come with me this year and help do some weeding."
“My older kids are now amazing, grown humans; my youngest is already reading at a college level at 11 years old and wants to go into engineering. They all help out with Talitha and work hard. So, I know I must have done something right."
“I don’t ask for help very well. When you’re dealing with cancer and in the hospital, there’s no money coming in and you’re just trying to keep a roof over your head. You can barely pay your bills, let alone buy food. Food shelves have been so helpful, and when I can give back in the future, I will.”