Recently we received a powerful story from a Fed 40 recipient that made our whole team realize that what we are doing matters in the lives of real Americans. It’s hard being vulnerable and sharing a story like this, but Michelle wanted to let others know it is okay to reach out for help and that together we can make our world better through something as simple as a healthy meal.
This is her story:
It’s very difficult to share this much personal information but I believe it’s incredibly important to let others know that they are not alone in life’s struggles. See when my husband and I found out we were going to welcome a beautiful baby boy into the world we were elated. Our plans were that I would stay home with our son and we would make this work any way possible.
In the beginning, things were tough because we went from a two-income family to a one income family, but at first it was really more of an adjustment to life as new parents. Shortly after he was born it was almost a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t working because we were on a rollercoaster of a ride with our son’s health. To the doctor, to the hospital, a surgery here, another doctor there, $40 jars of prescription formula, the first 2 years of his life would have made it next to impossible if I hadn’t been staying home. We downsized everything in our lives that we once held important to make our bills more manageable.
After years of struggling we saved up enough money to start our own small company. It was a dream come true when the business took off. I had the opportunity to now work from home, take care of our son and life was going great. After waiting to make sure it was an established business we moved on to purchasing a new (to us) car and moved into a larger home that we could now afford very comfortably. Most importantly our son’s healthcare was easily managed, we had each other, and all of this without the financial stresses we had faced for years. Life has a funny way though of making sure you aren’t on autopilot and just coasting through.
Three months after we moved into the new house our world was flipped upside down, and our business tanked very unexpectedly. When I say tanked I mean totally went underground, we did all we could for months to try and turn things around but to no avail that didn’t happen. The idea of moving after we had just settled in was just not an option at this point. We wouldn’t have the “you need to make double the cost of rent to move in” capabilities, because at this point we were barely making enough to pay the bills in the house we had moved into just half a year earlier, we had just paid all of the move-in fees and we’re just now getting the last of our boxes unpacked.
Combined between my husband and I we started working 3 jobs, one at home and the other two out of the home. The following year we experienced 2 deaths in our family, travel expenses from those trips added up and spirits were low because these were two close family members to both my husband and myself. It seemed like there was no hope. Now the next part of this story I can officially say is the whole reason I found the courage to share such a personal piece of my journey. We applied for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) this last June and by grace we were approved. The beginning of July they gave us our allotted amount which is far less than you’d imagine for a 3 person family, but we were grateful.
We are so very grateful for any help we received, I just want to make it a point of explaining that we didn’t receive this exuberant number that would buy groceries for the rest of the month. Here’s the reason behind this whole post and me wanting others to know they aren’t alone, that there is help out there. After we received our benefits in the beginning of July, we weren’t set to receive those benefits again until the end of this month August because when you first get approved they typically give you your funds immediately but this can mean there is a large gap until the next month’s distribution of funds. In order to close the gap between what we had and what we needed to just put food on the table, keep lights on in the house and have running water we did everything we could, sold items that we really didn’t need, picked up extra shifts, tried to find odd jobs to fill the gaps.
I’m sure it’s hard to understand unless you’ve been there, once you’ve gotten into a hole it’s incredibly hard to get yourself out of the hole and you grasp at anything possible. That’s when we came across the Fed 40 app by Feeding Children Everywhere. I heard about it from a local group here on Facebook, they explained that if you were in need you could go to the app and they would ship ready to cook meals directly to your home. No stressing about gas money, no stressing whether I have time to make it there between work and other obligations before they close, and even no stressing if I have ink in my printer to print up anything they require at the food bank. Nope, they send it right to your home. I went on their site, filled out the form, and two days from when I filled out the form I received a box on our doorstep that ensures that we don’t have to worry for the next little bit that we won’t be able to get food on the table for our son. At the end of the day my husband and myself understand it, we know how to deal with the hand we are dealt, but I don’t know a single parent that wants to ever make their child see that part of how the hard knocks of life can go at such a young age.
I have no doubt tomorrow is a new day, a year from now opportunities will be found and we will look back on this time fondly because I know that my husband and I will work hard until we are out of this rut. We will remember when we didn’t know what we would do, what our next meal would be and we will remember all of the people who helped us along the way, one of those being Feeding Children Everywhere. So family, if you find you are in a situation where you aren’t certain where your next meal will come from, seek out help, find what assistance you can get, use the Fed 40 app. #DisruptHunger because no one should ever feel like they have to go without food and you are not alone, life happens but it does get better when you give it all you’ve got. I can’t possibly thank Feeding Children Everywhere enough for being there for us when we felt most alone this last week. If in life we have each other and a hot meal to share conversation over, I’d say we are pretty blessed. Thank you.