Overcome with Gratitude
Scraping mold off bread, forgoing meat, parents struggling to pay the bills and keep food on the table — these are some of the things Elisha Bunn recalls when she thinks about her childhood.
Although she no longer struggles with food insecurity, Bunn remembers what it’s like not knowing when or if she’d have her next meal. So, it’s not surprising that today she volunteers at her kids’ school distributing food to her neighbors through the Food + You program. Lincoln Center Elementary is one of 19 schools participating in Food + You, a school-driven Second Harvest Heartland program that facilitates federally funded nutrition programs and coordinates direct food distributions.
“I volunteer because I believe in doing good deeds and helping people,” Bunn said. “I’m invested in my kids’ education and volunteer as much as I can in the classroom and at monthly Food + You distributions. I’m rewarded every day with smiles and hugs.”
Bunn said she sees firsthand how Food + You helps people who are food insecure, and she is overcome with gratitude.
“I could never put into words how much it means to me to volunteer,” she said. “Seeing people so happy and helping them in any way I can is more than fulfilling.”
Volunteering at the monthly Food + You distributions is also very personal for Bunn. After her brother passed away suddenly in 2015, her sister-in-law, Jessica, began struggling with food insecurity, but found relief through the Food + You distribution.
Bunn, who is a stay-at-home mom to Megan (13) and Justin (8), is also a part-time caregiver for Jessica’s two children when Jessica is at nursing school.
“My family doesn’t struggle as much as they used to but having the monthly food distribution really helps out, so we can save money to pay bills,” Bunn said.
When she’s not cleaning house, taking care of her kids or volunteering, Bunn likes to read, quilt and scrapbook. She also dreams of someday publishing a book.
“My life is crazy-busy, but I learned this year that it’s important to take time for yourself too.”
Learn more about how Second Harvest Heartland is helping create more access to food for children and their families through programs like Food + You and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).