Barb sitting in the community kitchen

Barb wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a self-proclaimed people person. “People are the most valuable part of Food Finders. Everybody has a story. When they’re talking to you and you can make them feel better about things, it’s all worth it,” Barb stated. She loves to volunteer in the J. P. Lisack Community Food Pantry. She finds value in giving back and encourages other clients to do the same. “When you think you’ve got it bad, somebody’s got it a heck of a lot worse than you do. You find out your life isn’t really that bad,” she explained.

Barb grew up in Monon, and was the oldest of five in her family. Both of her parents worked. “It was hard, we struggled. Mom and dad did a real good job keeping us fed, but programs like this would have helped a lot back then,” Barb stated. Her dad worked at a trailer factory during the day and would farm out in the fields at night. Her mom worked the night shift at a restaurant as a grill cook. “It pretty well left me to raise the little ones,” she shared. Barb reminisced about a growing up in a simpler time. “People have it harder these days than my parents had. I remember when you paid 69 cents for a gallon of gas and 25 cents for a loaf of bread. You could go to the store with $10, and come home with a week’s worth of groceries,” Barb explained.

 

People have it harder these days than my parents had. I remember when you paid 69 cents for a gallon of gas and 25 cents for a loaf of bread. You could go to the store with $10, and come home with a week’s worth of groceries

 

Barb became involved with Food Finders after her son, daughter in law, and two grandchildren came to live with her. “My son couldn’t hold a job, and I was trying to feed five of us on a limited budget. It’s not easy. What brought me was to make sure my grandbabies had food in their stomachs, snacks to eat, and good food,” Barb shared. Barb visited the Mobile Pantry distributions where her family received 30-40 pounds of food each month. The extra food helped out her family quite a bit. Barb got more involved with Food Finders and started meeting with a Resource Coordinator to make a plan toward food security and spent some time volunteering at the food pantry.

“We get a couple meals out of what the pantry gives us. What I don’t use from the pantry, I give to other people in my trailer court. The best thing is it allows me to give to somebody else. It allows me to know I’m not going to go hungry. At 55 years of age, that is a big comfort. I have some way to feel better about myself. No one here makes you feel like they’re giving you anything. No one makes you feel belittled,” she explained.

“People need to understand that Food Finders is trying to help people. Food Finders is teaching and showing people how to make a meal or how to make their grocery dollars go further. They are educating as well as providing food. My oldest son is diabetic, so I’ve had to learn to cook totally different. The education part of Food Finders has been very, very important,” she explained.

 

I hope the college degree I have will pay off. That’s the biggest goal I have for myself. I would like to work for a non-profit. It seems like something I could be happy doing. My future is doing something for others

 

Barb is pursuing her Master’s degree in accounting while working part time. “I hope the college degree I have will pay off. That’s the biggest goal I have for myself. I would like to work for a non-profit. It seems like something I could be happy doing. My future is doing something for others,” declared Barb.

Barb no longer has a vehicle which makes getting to Food Finders to volunteer a challenge after a long day’s work. She is also dealing with some health challenges and has decided to postpone her last four classes in graduate school in order to get well. Barb is facing student loan payments and figuring out her healthcare situation. Barb is doing all the right things but continues to struggle to make ends meet.

While she has seemingly insurmountable difficulties, Barb remains hopeful. Food Finders will walk with her every step of the way. Thousands of people in our community are struggling just like Barb. According to Map the Meal Gap data, people currently facing hunger are falling further behind as they continue to struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs.  Food-insecure individuals now face, on average, a food budget shortfall of $15.62 per person each week, up from $15.12 last year. Find out how you can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors during challenging times. Support from donors and volunteers changes lives for the better every day. We sincerely thank you for the difference you make in our community.

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