Victoria, a former teacher, and her husband, an electrician, relocated to Illinois with their three young children, ages five, seven and nine. After a client failed to pay her husband for a significant $17,000 project, Victoria and her family found themselves searching for answers.
“I would personally like to thank you [donors and the Northern Illinois Food Bank]. It actually brings tears to my eyes because our family was really struggling. What you’re doing here has not only sustained us food-wise, but it’s also given me hope as someone who didn’t used to be in a position of need. And now I am.”
Victoria is thrilled with the quality and variety of food she found at the Glen Ellyn Pantry, one of the 900 food pantries, soup kitchens and feeding programs in our network.
“Last week, there were avocados. There are tomatoes. This week, there’s cantaloupe. I’m just thanking God that there are these expensive organic fruits and vegetables available to us at our time of need.”
Victoria even found ingredients for a special Valentine’s dinner:
“And then I saw that the food pantry had given us all these lovely pork chops with pesto butter.”
As new folks to Illinois, making friends and connecting to people are important to Victoria and her family.
“There are a lot of very gracious folks at this particular pantry. One of the ladies is a realtor and she and I always have excellent conversations. The folks [who] are in charge are just really lovely. And that just really blessed me.”
With three kids in school, Victoria appreciates the school lunch program but finds the summer times more difficult: “The kids in the summer don’t get free lunches at school, so…it’s even harder to make ends meet in the summer.”
Before receiving help from the food pantry, Victoria noted that “we had almost nothing in the refrigerator, and I just didn’t want my kids to experience that. It was tough. And now that we come here, we have enough on a regular basis.”
The food pantry allows Victoria to save money and work toward a new career in nursing after many years of teaching. “I’m a licensed teacher. I’ve worked with kids for about 19 years. I’m pursuing, through the community college, a second career in nursing.” The money Victoria saves by visiting the food pantry she can use to go back to school and pay for other family expenses.
Rising costs have made pursuing career goals more difficult, “The cost of living here going up has really made it challenging to buy food. This [food pantry] really makes it possible for us to pay rent.”
“My husband works full time, and I’ll be going back into the workforce.” But for now, the food pantry helps Victoria and her family make ends meet: “Your generosity is helping people that really are hardworking.”