When I volunteer at FROM’s Mobile Food Pantry, I see myself in every vehicle that pulls up, pops their trunk and leaves with a few boxes of food.
In the Fall of 2001, I stood in line at the Kent County Youth Fair Grounds with a couple of bags under my arm waiting for the doors at Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM) Mobile Food Pantry to open.
I had been let go from a well-paying job and found myself on unemployment just 12 months after purchasing a new home in downtown Lowell and a new car.
I quickly burnt through my savings and lived off from a part-time job and unemployment checks. I took a second part-time job selling Christmas trees at a local farm stand because I didn’t want to live off from just unemployment… and, I couldn’t. I was required to claim that income which dramatically reduced my unemployment benefits.
With a lot of budgeting, coupon cutting and food from FROM, I was able to make ends meet until I landed my current job that following summer.
Our neighbors who utilize FROM’s Mobile Food Pantry (and more than a dozen other programs at FROM) have found themselves in a situation where they’ve realized they need a little help.
For most of us it takes a lot to ask, show up and receive help. It sure was for me.
I remember seeing people I knew handing me food. I felt ashamed and embarrassed at first, but then I could see their compassion in their eyes, love in their smiles and generosity in their hands. They were there to help unconditionally, no matter what.
If you need help, you can come to FROM. And if you want to help others, the answer is the same: you can come to FROM to volunteer, drop off your unwanted treasures to the thrift store or donate your financial blessings generously.