Food with a Side of Hope

For fifty years Church Community Services has been providing help and hope to those in need of food. Deb Krawiec has been a faithful volunteer in our food pantry since 2011 and she has seen firsthand the hope CCS provides. Deb says that often she knows we are offering guests hope with few words being said. "It's just the guests hugging me and thanking us for being there," she says.  Many guests tell Deb that their adult kids have moved back in or they suddenly find themselves raising their grandkids. They really don't have anywhere to turn, and rely on us to be there for them.  Deb shares, "so often, their attitudes are amazing! The guests are all in the same boat and they give to each other. For example, maybe they have the last box of Cheerios and the family with kids behind them doesn't get any, so they take it out of their cart and give it to them!  I had one gentleman that didn’t take as much food as he was allowed, but he didn't see anything else he needed. He was ready to bag up his groceries and he heard me talking to a mom with kids. She, on the other hand, had 2 or 3 items more than allowed, and he asked if he could take them as part of his total and then give them to her!!  We said yes, of course! I love that attitude; in the face of adversity, our guests often see others as 'worse off' than they are and they want to make sure everyone has something."

Deb goes on to explain, "I've had people in tears saying that they never thought they'd find themselves in a food pantry." She feels that adults often have a harder time coming into the food pantry than the kids do. "The kids are great, they just think they're going to the 'store' to get groceries!  The kids are often the reason parents will come to the pantry. When they look at their kids they see hope and a reason to keep going, and they turn to Church Community Services to sustain that hope," she says.  Guests know they can get healthy food and often fresh veggies for their family through our food pantry and accompanying Seed to Feed program that provides local fresh produce and protein. "Guests come from all walks of life. Many are not the 'stereotypical' down on their luck people you might expect. Often guests look like you or me.  Anyone can hit a bump on the road. There are car repairs that come up, illness or injury, any number of things. No matter what life throws at you, you still have to eat, and if we can help out once in a while or every month, we want to be there for our neighbors. We really are the hands and feet of Jesus," Deb says.

Hayley Tessier