For Mary, it was hard to ask for help. “I was used to helping,” she shared. Mary worked in pediatrics, orthopedics, and oncology during her 20-year nursing career, but lung and heart disease diagnoses made it impossible to continue. “I loved it. I miss nursing,” she said. After leaving nursing, she needed income, so she found a job at a grocery store, but the pay wasn’t as good and sometimes her hours would get cut or she’d get sick.

When she didn’t have much money, she’d resort to eating cheap food. “I try to be careful, but when all you can get is certain foods, you’re stuck with it,” she said. She never thought she’d need the services of a food bank. “When I ran into difficulties, they were here, and they’ve been here for me ever since,” she shared.

The pantry offers fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, which help people like Mary, now 73, stay healthy. The pantry staff has gotten to know her since she began coming once a month three years ago. By taking care of her, they remind her of the power of helping others. “They’re like nurses,” she said.