Chanel's Story of Hope

Chanel first started visiting the pantry in 2009, soon after she moved here from Arizona. Life in Elkhart started off as a challenge, as she was unable to find a well-paying job during the recession while also attending college. Chanel’s visits to the food pantry at Church Community Services helped her and her husband through that tough stage.  Visiting the pantry gave Chanel hope, “Everytime I walked in those doors I knew I was going to be taken care of. It made a huge difference to help my husband and I stretch our dollars to get us on our feet to being independent adults.”

In her last fews months of visiting the pantry, Chanel started noticing more produce available, due to the implementation of the Seed to Feed program at Church Community Services. She was very thankful for this, as most of her experience at food pantries only involved canned goods.

Since obtaining a full time job, Chanel has sought ways to give back to the community. She found an opportunity for that at River Oaks Community Church (ROCC), the congregation she has been a part of since moving to Elkhart. This past summer she began helping at ROCC’s Seed to Feed garden. Chanel brings her young children along to the weekly gardening days, using the opportunity to teach them about where food comes from, as well as how the food in that garden is helping others. Chanel shared “I am glad not to have to worry about the needs of my kids and instead be able to turn around and help others”. Chanel intends to continue volunteering in the garden next summer, while improving the porch garden she started at home. Through it all, she points her experience back to God. “He was there every step of the way. Looking back, I see the love God spread through the food pantry at Church Community Services and I have now been inspired to do the same. It's just so surreal to think about how God’s love touches our life in the midst of the chaos and confusion life throws at us. The people who worked in the pantry obeyed God’s command to help the less fortunate, to do something and not expect to receive anything in return, for it is God’s awesome love that they share. Besides food, love is the greatest gift Church Community Services has given me and my family.”

Hayley Tessier