I didn’t know at the time, but when I was a little girl, my mother Mary, often struggled to put food on the table for my sister and me. You see, she grew up in poverty in rural Texas. For reasons I’ll never know, her parents removed her from school after she finished Kindergarten. She never learned to drive, to read, and aside from her own signature, she never learned to write.
And she never got the chance. Shortly after I was born, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Eventually, she and my father divorced, and she became our sole caretaker. Because she was ill, she received some benefits like disability and food stamps, but it was never enough to pay rent and utilities and have enough left over to buy groceries, clothing, and school supplies for her two growing daughters.
But with the help of family and friends, neighbors, and people who were strangers to me, Mom was able to keep us fed. Because she was unable to drive, our neighbors would visit food pantries on her behalf, and then deliver the groceries to our doorstep. People just like you made a profound difference in our lives, and I had no idea until years later.
For the families that visit our pantry, and so many others, the donors and volunteers of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen have been a lifeline over the past year. Last year, when our team added two additional days for our pantry service, we couldn’t have predicted that it would become our largest program at the Soup Kitchen. But today, the program has grown 1,200% since the start of the pandemic, providing over 500 families with enough groceries to create 32,000 meals every single week.
For my own family, programs like Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (and food pantry) provided a lifeline during a very difficult time in our lives. Today, every time I see a child visit our food pantry with their parents, I am reminded of the generosity of not only those who helped me, but of the volunteers and donors who fuel our operations every day.
On behalf of everyone who visits our food pantry, thank you for investing in their future. I know from my own experiences you are making a difference with a lasting ripple effect.