We recently met a real life ray of sunshine. Her name is Paula and she has a contagious happiness and glow about her. Traits so many people crave. For Paula, warmth and hope are second nature. She generously offered to share her story with us. Her real story. No fudging or sugar coating. Life and choices bring about hardship and she didn't dodge any of that.
Paula worked as a flight attendant and Realtor for years. Life was smooth sailing. Drugs entered the scene and threw a major wrench in Paula's life plans. She lost everything and spent years struggling to keep a safe roof over her head. She relied on food banks and often found herself with a box of oatmeal to her name. Life wasn't so smooth sailing. This is where so many people would shake their heads and judge Paula and others who have made choices similar to hers. Just wait. The story doesn't end there.
After three years in an intensive rehabilitation program, Paula crawled out of the trenches and found that positive life rhythm she was desperately searching for. She found a good place. After surviving a life threatening car accident, she went through physical therapy and started writing and expressing her faith through shockingly beautiful poetry. She self-published her books, documenting the story of her life. After years of relying on food pantries, Paula started showing up at a FBR agency partner to help. To give back. Volunteering brings her additional joy and makes her grateful for everything she has. Paula uses her struggles and her accomplishments to add hope to the lives of those around her.
Our darkest moments tend to bring about the sunshine that Paula carries with her. We're grateful that FBR was able to catch a glimpse and play a role in carrying Paula through her journey.
You can check out Paula's website for more of her story and poetry.
Picture this... you walk out of a routine doctor appointment with an unexpected diagnosis of prostate cancer. Shortly after undergoing treatment for the cancer your kidneys start shutting down and you're immediately put on dialysis three times per week. You're far too weak to work, let alone walk to the mailbox or drive. In the midst of all of these new found health problems, your food stamp allotment is cut 75%. Bills are still coming in, health care costs are mounting and rent is still due.
This short synopsis is the journey that Hillery has been navigating this past year. We met this remarkable man at one of our agency partner locations last week and were in awe of his positive spirit. He spoke with eloquence about his appreciation for food assistance and how blessed he is to live close enough to walk to retrieve food when he's able. Hillery's story is all too common for so many of our clients. The ups and downs of life bring about situations where a helping hand goes an incredibly long way. Hillery made it clear that without food assistance, he wouldn't be able to make it right now.
Every dollar donated to FBR provides four meals for our neighbors. Thank you for providing hope for Hillery and so many others walking a similar path.
Kris and Jorden are students at a local school in Denver. What you wouldn’t know by looking at their beautiful smiles is that food isn’t easy to come by. Their mom was in a car accident, injuring her arm. She hasn’t been able to work, which has been hard on the family.
Krist explains, "As long as I have my mom, dad and Jorden, that's all I really need. It makes me sad not to have enough money to buy everything we need and it makes me want to help, but Mom tells me to focus on my education. That's my most important job."
Chris and Jorden go to a FBR sponsored meal site every day, knowing they’ll have a healthy, hot lunch waiting for them. And they know they’ll receive a healthy snack after school, enabling them to focus on homework. Their mom and dad have one less worry on their plate.
Like so many seniors, Delores struggles with diabetes. Thanks to the Totes of Hope-Senior program, she is able to receive food items needed on a daily basis. This resource helps supplement her pantry so she can afford the more expensive items needed to care for her health.
Carlene has a story incredibly similar to so many other seniors. Her husband passed away, she lost her home, she lost a majority of her income and she now needs food assistance as a result. Carlene is so grateful for the Totes of Hope-Seniors program and for all hunger relief programs that exist to assist men and women just like her.
Pam's husband works full time as a tow truck driver. She babysits in their home. They have 3 sons and they both work hard. Very hard. But it's not enough to pay the bills, pay their mortgage, buy food and pay for insurance for the family. They can't do it all, no matter how hard they try and how determined they are to make it on their own. We met Pam at a local food pantry where she goes to get food, knowing she'll be treated with respect and dignity. The pantry meets one of their basic and most essential needs and allows them to focus on paying their mortgage and keeping the lights on. Insurance is offered through her husband's employer, but at a cost they can't afford right now. When we met them, Damian had a nasty cold , but as Pam explains, "Who's willing to see a child who comes uninsured?" Unless it's an emergency, they're left without good options.
And yet Pam and Damian smile genuine smiles. Their family focuses on giving back to those who are supporting them through this trying time. She wants her boys to grow up with an appreciation for lending a hand to their community.
Click here for Pam's first hand account of what lead her family to needing food assistance. We think you'll agree that it's worth your time and it's worth sharing.
We met Bill Sr. and Billy at Crossroads Church Pantry a couple weeks back. Bill Sr. recently injured his back for the 3rd time working at a lumber yard and was told by his doctor that he needs a change of vocation. His wife works full time to help support the family. They've been waiting for 30 days for his workers comp to kick in, but haven't started receiving checks yet. He and his wife looked at each other that morning and realized that it was time to reach out for help. So, after a pep talk from his wife, he walked through the doors of this pantry and asked for help for the first time. He said it was the most humbling and the most difficult thing he has ever had to do.
Never did he and his wife think that they’d find themselves asking for assistance. In fact, a number of months ago, they started a foundation to help people with clothing and food. Now they’re the ones needing help and have put their foundation goals on hold. Bill holds on to his faith and is confident that someday he’ll use this humbling experience as a story of growth and hope. He is so in awe and grateful at what he was able to take home for his family as a result of FBR. Both Bills walked away with smiles and we walked away humbled by a story that is so close to home.
Watch Bill Sr.'s story below....
Christy and her husband took over the family painting company after her husband's father passed away suddenly. Once a lucrative business, the company fell on hard times with the troubled economy. Christy, her husband, young daughter and mother-in-law are trying to keep up on bills, but are struggling to put food on the table. They're currently waiting for food stamps and are trading services for painting as a creative way to make ends meet. Simply going out for painting bids is difficult with the price of gas. They're having a baby any day and worry about how they're going to manage all that life is throwing at them. Christy relies on a local food pantry to ease worries about feeding her family and is grateful for the help. This family resides in the 7th wealthiest county in the nation. Imagine that.