Stacy is a store manager at a Trader Joe’s in Ventura County. One of her responsibilities is to ensure food that’s approaching its sell-by date, but is still good to eat, is packaged up and ready for pickup by Food Share. It’s a task that’s close to her heart. Here, she reflects on a time as a young mother when she struggled to feed her family and the impact the support she received had on her and her children’s lives.

There was a short time in my life when unfortunately, I was not able to provide food for my family. I had this amazing opportunity to receive food from Food Share, to help support me and my children during a time of need. Even though it was a tough time for me, my children have fond memories we were able to create with the food we were given. For example, one time we got pizza dough, and we were able to roll that out and it was so fun — an opportunity to make a positive memory during a hard time.

It gave me a sense of strength as a mother that I was able to provide healthy and nutritious food for my kids during a time when I felt like I couldn’t. To have produce, to be able to make a healthy dinner, it gave me a sense of strength knowing I was feeding my children healthy meals.

The Food Share program absolutely gives people the opportunity to create a better life. It gives us that sense of community and gives us that sense of belief. And it gives us that sense that we matter, that people take the time to build these food boxes for families. They’re going to people that could use that support. And sometimes it takes other people to believe in us so we can believe in ourselves.

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