“What comes to mind is thankful and appreciative.”
Rebecca Brooks leans forward in her chair to make sure to look you in the eye; she looks at you in a gentle way that makes you know that she is trying to connect with you, hear you and be heard.
She is a volunteer here at Pastor’s Pantry in Lexington, North Carolina. Volunteering, she says, gives her exercise and helps “keep my mind sharp.” And, like so many volunteers at Second Harvest partner programs such as this one, Rebecca Brooks is also a client.
Rebecca Brook’s story is by no means one of ease, but instead one of resiliency. Brooks, now retired from Langley Air Force base, remembers times after her divorce where she “worked three jobs just to keep things going,” raising her daughters alone. She now tries to make ends meet living on Social Security and says that, with no unexpected expenses, she can just cover her bills. “But I do run short on food sometimes,” she says.
“I meet a lot of people in my own neighborhood who are struggling. They are seniors like me; we have a roof over our heads but we struggle with food… at least, getting quality food. Food that is good for us.”
It is this quality, healthy food that Donna Mashburn, Executive Director of Pastor’s Pantry says is so important. The pantry can access fresh produce, dairy and meats from Second Harvest as well as TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) foods to make sure they are providing for the health of their clients. “The outcomes in their mental and physical states are clear when we provide the most nutritious food,” says Mashburn of the largely senior population that Pastor’s Pantry serves. 14.4% of residents in Davidson County are food insecure and Second Harvest’s Davidson County partner network (consisting of 39 local partners including Pastor’s Pantry) says that a growing number of their clients are senior citizens.
Perhaps it is that healthy food that fuels Rebecca Brooks and gives her the added strength and inspiration to volunteer every week at Pastor’s Pantry. She stands up to check the shelves and make bags for the other seniors coming in.
Watching her work, the words that come to mind are thankful and appreciative.
This Spring, we are calling on our network partners and our community supporters to help us keep important, nutritious food available to Northwest North Carolina seniors. One important way to make sure this support remains is to advocate for and support a strong Farm Bill. Learn more about the Farm Bill here and how it helps support children, seniors and families who are food insecure.
TAKE ACTION: Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts here.