This Grandmother Puts Family First

Brenda Header

February 16, 2017 By: Marie Pauley Category: SHH News

On any given day of the week, Brenda’s household is full of energy. There are people coming and going from work, school and Boy Scouts, and all at different times of day. Brenda starts her day early enough to get herself off to work and two young kids out the door. This might sound familiar to a young family, but Brenda’s situation is a little different.

Brenda is 77 years old. Brenda and her husband are the primary caretakers for their grandsons, alongside their son who works a night shift six days a week.  

Like a lot people nearing the end of their working days, Brenda dreamed of relaxation, escaping the Minnesota cold to retire in the south. She had raised a family, become a grandmother and worked for more than 35 years.

“We had planned to move. I bought the luggage and we had planned to retire down south, but when my eldest grandson moved in with us we didn’t even look back on that option,” said Brenda, “you do what you gotta do because family is first.

With that sentiment, it’s no surprise when their son received custody of his two youngest children and needed a little extra help; Brenda was there with open arms to welcome the family into their home.

With more mouths to feed, Brenda did what any mother and grandmother would do, after only 5 years of retirement, she went back to work.

“I wanted to be with people, I’m a people person,” Brenda shared.

As the population ages, we often hear stories of how adult children are helping care for their parents and the need for help for these families. But for multi-generational families like Brenda’s, a whole different set of resources and assistance is needed.

While Brenda and her husband are balancing the costs of medical care and food, they’re also working to keep young, growing boys fed. Even with a little extra income, it is still difficult to afford the good food that she needs for her family. Brenda is thankful for her local food shelf has allowed her to provide ample fresh fruit, vegetables and always a home-cooked meal for her family.

“It’s been a blessing,” said Brenda, “We’d be eating less and cheaper stuff if I didn’t have the food shelf.”

Nobody should have to choose between providing food for a growing family and other necessities like clothes and medicine. When you support Second Harvest Heartland, you are helping stock local food shelves that provide families like Brenda’s the food they need to thrive. Make a gift today:  Just $1 provides three meals.


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