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When Kathie’s boys were in 6th and 7th grades, she and her husband divorced. During this transition, Kathie went from being a stay-at-home mother to re-entering the workforce. While she was fortunate to find a job, the pay was entry level and it was difficult to make ends meet with two growing boys.

“I had enough money for the basics but I didn’t have a lot of money for food,” she said. “Food is the most fundamental thing you need. When there’s no food, there’s no food. It’s one of the things that’s an absolute essential, especially when you have kids and your kids are hungry.”

Kathie didn’t receive any type of child support for nearly two years. Receiving food assistance allowed her to provide other basic needs for her boys.

“You can't make money go farther than it does. You have to have gas, heat, clothes, something over your head,” she remarked. “Food is the thing you can get pretty cheaply sometimes but it's nice to have fresh food and fresh vegetables.”

When Kathie reflects back on her own experience, she realizes the importance of being able to pay it forward.

“To me, the most important way you can give back to the community is to help people out who are in difficult situations,” she said.

Kathie has been volunteering at the Foodbank’s Healthy Foods Distributions for nearly two years. She enjoys the opportunity to offer her support and share tips on how to prepare the different produce available that day. 

“I have a very strong connection to wanting to help people out because I know what it’s like to not have enough money for food,” she said.

During her time volunteering at distributions, Kathie has met many people and heard many stories. What’s important to her is that people know that it’s okay to ask for help.

“You don’t need to be embarrassed. You need what you need,” she said. “People fall into all sorts of situations.”

As someone who has received food assistance in the past, Kathie hopes to provide a sense of comfort and support for others.

“I want people to know that it's okay if you’re in a bad place,” she said. “Things will get better. I want to be the person there saying I accept you no matter what.”