Feeding Hope: Shari's Story

“Well, it’s not fun going hungry.”

Shari’s words were understated yet to the point.  She stood in line for a Mobile Market at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on a sunny November day with her daughter and their five-month-old chihuahua.  Shari lives with her daughter, two granddaughters—both teenagers—and now the puppy.  A three-generation household of women—and one boy.  “He’s outnumbered,” Shari said, laughing, talking about the chihuahua.

Shari has come to this Mobile Market several times over the past few years.  She’s struggled with health issues for most of her life, but a few years ago, they prevented her from continuing to work.  Shortly after, one of her granddaughters became very sick—and most of their savings went to her medical bills.  “We took all of the money we had saved up and, you know, for her—to save her little life.”

Her granddaughter is now a healthy teenager, but with little in her savings account and unable to work, it’s hard for Shari to afford basics like food.  She says coming to the Mobile Markets and food bank at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, a Second Harvest partner agency, helps provide her family with staples.

Shari has been consistently impressed by the quality of the food at Second Harvest’s Mobile Markets and partner food pantries.  “It’s fresh.  You know, you don’t get something that’s been outdated for a month.”

Shari has also been happy with how she’s treated at these free food distributions.  “I like this place.  The people are friendly.  It’s just a really good vibe down here.  Everybody’s nice—even the ones who are in the line.  And you never feel like the people here are looking down on you.  You get that quite often.  You know, right now we’re in a pinch, so we get looked down on when we ask for help.  But not at the Mobile Market.”

Because she’s had such positive experiences, Shari likes to spread the word about Mobile Markets and other services Second Harvest provides.  She often organizes a group of people in her neighborhood to carpool to these events.  And for those of her neighbors who can’t make it, Shari still shares what she receives with them when possible.  She’ll even go to food pantries to pick up food for people who are too embarrassed to go themselves.

“When somebody’s finally able to admit, ‘Hey, I don’t have any food,’ I would simply look and say, ‘You know, that’s fine.  I’ll help you out.  I know people who can help you out.  You don’t need to go hungry.’  And that’s all I can tell people—is that if you don’t know, and you’re afraid, you can call (Second Harvest).  They can tell you where you might be able to go or who can help you.  Because there are a lot of embarrassed people out there.  I know because I’m one of them.”

Shari says it’s important for people to donate and volunteer at Second Harvest “so they can continue their work for people who can’t volunteer, who can’t get out as well.  If you don’t volunteer or donate, a lot of us would not have even a loaf of bread or maybe a carrot or something.  We wouldn’t have much at all.  We would be going by eating one meal a month or one meal a day, if that … People need to donate and need to volunteer, those who can, to keep this growing for someone like my family and all the rest of the people in this line.”

Want to help people like Shari? Learn more about how you can.