Promise to Pay it Forward
Last year, Sarah was a working mother and graduate student busy taking care of her two children while pursuing her passions for teaching and the environment. She was working towards her master’s degree in education while balancing part-time work as an adult reading coach and managing all of the things that come along with being the mom of two daughters.
Today her life looks much different.
After a recent divorce, according to Sarah, things just started falling apart. “I always put my kids first and when it all fell apart I tried to juggle so many things at one and some had to go,” said Sarah.
The first thing to go was school. Sarah needed more time for her kids and for work. Sarah worked as a reading coach at a local college and worked with adults that were behind on their reading skills. She worked in the classroom with people from all walks of life – meeting them was her favorite part. Unfortunately, the position that was already part time lost funding and her time would be reduced to less than 20 hours per week. Sarah had to walk away from something she loved.
In the meantime, she has been working as much as she can. Landscaping in the summer time, writing as a freelancer and other work to help make ends meet.
But you can’t landscape in the winter and sometimes the freelance work just isn’t enough.
Thankfully, a good friend of Sarah’s introduced her to the food shelf in White Bear Lake where she visited only as needed. “When I went to the food shelf for the first time, one of the local stores has just donated pre-packed salads and they were delicious,” exclaimed Sarah. “It’s expensive to make healthy choices, but I don’t want to have to feed my kids anything just because I need to fill their bellies.”
Through the food shelf, Sarah was referred to Second Harvest Heartland where she was connected to additional resources that have helped her reduce her visits to the food shelf and still provide enough nutritious food to her kids.
When we asked Sarah what she would say if she could tell everyone in person what the resources and support have meant to her, through the smile you could hear in her voice she simply stated, “What can you possibly say? Thank you. I promise to pay it forward.”
Sarah has never looked at her situation and thought of anything other than making her kids and food the priority. She knows that she will get back on her feet and have the opportunity to pay it forward.
The reality is that one in 10 of our neighbors, just like Sarah, struggle to find enough food for their families. The holidays place a unique burden on struggling families who are trying to pay the bills and still have something leftover for celebration and giving.
No one should be hungry during the holidays. We invite you to make a gift to help support families like Sarah’s this holiday season and help give everyone we serve a reason to pay it forward.
*To protect the anonymity of our clients, a representative photo has been used.