Brenda’s Story

My journey into the life of a food banker began in 1988 when I was approached by a friend to attend a community meeting to discuss the need for one in Chatham Kent.

I attended and sat through the majority of the meeting listening to people speak to the need, but also listening to people referring to families in need as “THOSE PEOPLE” who sit on their porch all day and drink beer. I was livid as I was at that time a single mom with 4 young children and I knew only too well the struggles that went with that.

I found myself standing and addressing that crowd, saying I am one of THOSE PEOPLE and you are wrong. We face daily struggles with deciding how to put food on the table, how to wash our clothes when the laundry breaks down and there is no money for repairs or the laundromat. I was fortunate enough to have family support but so many do not.

I began my journey and the building began. I helped to put up shelves, paint and collect donations to begin what has become a 29 year life-changing experience. I started out as a volunteer and was soon asked to apply for the role of coordinator for the food bank. I was
hesitant as I felt under-qualified but after much encouragement I did and here I am today.

This has been the best decision of my life. I have had the privilege of meeting and knowing members of my community that would have otherwise gone unnoticed to me. I share in their life stories, their good times and bad.

“I found myself standing and addressing that crowd, saying I am one of THOSE PEOPLE and you are wrong.”

I have also had the honor of working with the finest of volunteers within my home town. Being a part of the Outreach for Hunger is not my job, it is my family.

I look forward to every day and every challenge. It has opened my eyes to what the everyday struggles are to so many of our neighbors and it has allowed me to involve the community in working together to make a difference. Food banking is a way of life, not a job.

Submitted by the Chatham-Kent Outreach for Hunger as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.

Thanks to Hunger Action Month sponsor, Cargill Canada!