This week, Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary recognized as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.Thanks to programs like the Great Plains Food Bank, Burleigh County Senior Center, Mandan Golden Age and the United Way Backpack Program, over 1,000,000 meals were provided to the hungry in our area last year. We’re making great headway in combating hunger, we still have work to do.
Check out Brenda’s story of how her life took a turn and she found herself with two extra mouths to feed.
Brenda had worked hard to prepare for retirement and she thought she was ready. However, life took a different turn when she unexpectedly became the guardian of her two young grandchildren.
Brenda previously had enough to take care of herself, but started running short with two growing boys to feed. Despite working full time and tapping into retirement savings, she quickly realized that her income wasn’t going to be enough and that food was going to be a problem.
Then she found help through Great Plains Food Bank, a partner in United Way’s Health Initiative. She enrolled the boys in a summer lunch program and was able to receive the assistance she needed to keep her family fed and fueled.
“At first I was embarrassed to ask for help. I’m 64 years old and have never asked for any type of assistance. But this was beyond me. It was about my grandchildren eating and I knew I had to do whatever it took to keep them from going hungry,” said Brenda.
Without this assistance, Brenda would have likely been faced with tough choices to keep food on the table, such as giving up needed medication or keeping up with house and utility payments. Brenda’s grandsons also would have likely sensed the pressure she was facing and begun to act out in school. With no relief in sight, these problems would have only grown worse.
“I can say I’m not longer ashamed to be on the other side. I’ve been treated with dignity and respect and my grandchildren have enough to eat. The summer feeding program gives them the fuel they need to do well in school, which will help them get into college. In that way, it’s providing them with so much more than food – it’s providing my grandchildren with a future.”