People come to the LSS Food Pantries at different stages in their lives and for different reasons. Each person’s story is unique. We strive to meet our clients where they are and serve them as individuals so that they can better their lives. Here are some of those unique stories.
LSS Athens Mobile Food Pantry
Sam traveled from his home 25 miles away to visit the LSS Athens County Mobile Food Pantry for the first time. He is 57-years-old and disabled by breathing problems caused by asbestos exposure. It’s difficult for him to make ends meet on his disability check. He likes to garden, and he raises chickens, which helps to stretch his food budget. Sam appreciated the help he received from the LSS Athens County Mobile Food Pantry and was glad to see there was applesauce, his favorite. Noting the large number of people also seeking assistance, he said, “Pantries are so important to a lot of people.”
Naomi is part of a demographic that has exploded in recent years – grandparents raising grandchildren. Naomi has custody of three grandchildren and relies on the LSS Food Pantry to help feed them. “Pantries help grandparents feed grandkids,” she said. “I know several people in the same situation I’m in.” It’s a position that can lead to tough choices. Naomi explained, “I’d have to get another job and not see my grandkids to pay for the nutritious food I get here.” At the LSS Food Pantries neighbors can visit weekly to select fresh produce and other surplus items and once a month for a three day supply of food for every member of the family. However, Naomi says that she has figured out how to make the food last a week and a half.
When health challenges hastened her husband’s early retirement in 2016, friends reminded Mary that she and her husband qualified for food pantry assistance. A grateful Mary says that assistance freed up money to pay for other necessities, including medical expenses.
This wasn’t Mary’s first contact with LSS. Her family received counseling services many years ago when an 9-year-old Mary’s parents divorced. Later, she had a not-so-good initial experience as a volunteer at the Champion Avenue food pantry. A client yelled at her and she was pretty determined not to return. Click here to read the rest of Mary’s story
Valerie feels like she’s caught in a Catch-22. She’d like to get a telemarketing job, but she needs a car to get back and forth. She has received grants for an online school for social work, but now she needs money for a laptop. She’ll also lose her food stamps once she starts school.
These are the issues that bring Valerie to the LSS Food Pantry. “This pantry is a nice one,” she said, adding that she only uses it when she has to. A giving person, Valerie said, “I always share what I have. It’s a pay it forward type of thing. I like to volunteer here, so I feel like I’m giving back.”
LSS Waldo Produce Distribution
Connie has been in the hospital on and off for the last few months. At first, she was having respiratory problems. That led to swollen feet and legs that then led to having heart surgery. While she was in the hospital, her car, which was parked in the hospital parking lot, was completely totaled by a drunk driver. The insurance company did not completely pay for her new car, so now Connie has a car payment she had not planned for.
Connie’s adult son lives with her, but she is the breadwinner. With so much recent stress, she suffers from panic attacks and anxiety. She was looking forward to using the produce she gets today to make and can some homemade vegetable soup.
Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio is a United Way agency, a member of Lutheran Services in America and a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
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