My inspiration comes from my children. Twenty one years ago I was a young single mother, working a full time job, and taking care of a child.  I spent most of my pay check on the basic, rent, electric, and child care; and NO, I did not receive child support. I swallowed my pride and signed up for government assistance, WIC and food stamps.  I was denied for assistance because I had a job.  Needless to say, there was not much left after paying for the necessities. I spent many nights worried about where our next meal was going to come from. How was I going to feed my child? Yes, I could have asked my parents, but who wants to look like a failure?

When I heard about the GO Pantry, I said to myself I wish that there was a program like that when I was struggling.  The inspiration I tell my co-workers is you don’t know what struggles the next person is going through.  It is easy to judge, but I urge you to put your foot in the shoe of a struggling parent. You have no idea how stressful it is for a parent to struggle to provide food for their children and too worry about where their next meal is going to come from.  I also always remind each of my co-workers to think about going home. Imagine sitting around a table of food at dinner time, looking across the table and seeing a smile on your child’s face.  Then think about other children that are going to bed hungry.  A small donation of cash or an item off the GO Pantry list could go a long way. The feeling of knowing you made another child smile is the most rewarding feeling.

I give you permission to share my story and even include my name. I am a reminder that everyone has a story. Some of us need more help than others. I have worked so hard to get where I am today and I am proud of all the obstacles I have encountered along the way.  Maybe my story will inspire others to never give up.