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Thankful for food pantries.

Updated on December 13, 2011
Neighborhood food pantry programs are filling an urgent need for the jobless and their families--whose resources are being stretched by extended unemployment
Neighborhood food pantry programs are filling an urgent need for the jobless and their families--whose resources are being stretched by extended unemployment | Source

Today was the first time I ever made use of a community food pantry. It was an experience that really makes you stop and think. Okay, so I’ve been through the routine of applying for unemployment insurance before. But not a food pantry…until now.

It took quite a long time to go through it all, from the first intake “interview” with the pantry volunteer, to actually being able to do the “shopping trip” in the food area. It could have been due to the holiday season—I’m told this is the busiest time of year for them. But it did take an entire morning. Knowing that we were going to get some much-needed help, food-wise, at the end of the process, made the wait worthwhile.

I can’t be thankful enough for this resource—especially since our family is trying so hard to pull ourselves up out of our situation, but are finding it extremely challenging to stay afloat and not sink further. If it weren’t for the food pantry, we would have to spend that amount of money at the supermarket, resulting in less left over to pay bills or buy gas to go out job-hunting. It can be a vicious cycle.

But the food pantry, through its services, gives us a small break in our constant worries over survival.

Looking around at how many other people are also being helped by this particular food pantry (the Loaves & Fishes program in Devens, MA) makes you realize that the country is in pretty sad shape, for this large number of folks to need this kind of assistance. And the number of food pantry users keeps growing, I hear.

In school, we read about soup kitchens and other programs of the Great Depression in the 1930s—but how many of us stop to think, “Hey, history is repeating itself. This is really serious!”

Self-respect preserved.

But, to sum it all up, I have to say, that my first-time food pantry experience wasn’t so bad after all. If you ever have concerns that it would be an embarrassing or shameful thing—don’t worry. All the volunteers there were very, very nice. And they really tried to make sure that for all the users of the pantry, no one would feel any loss of dignity or self-respect as the result of their visit there. In fact, just the opposite. The fact that all of us were there out of the same, common need made me feel less “odd” or “strange.”

We’re all in this boat together—and if we can all help each other find resources like this, maybe it’s the first step in getting this nation back on its feet. So tell that to your elected representative!


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    • nina64 profile image

      nina64 6 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      When I was unemployed some years ago, I never considered using a food pantry for assistance for my family. With the job market struggling to make it back up to the top, many individuals are faced with the possibility of having to use such resources. I'm so glad that you and your family made such use of these resources because you needed them, and there is no shame in that!! You have to do what is necessary for you and your loved ones. Best of luck to you and your family.