I wouldn’t wish my last three years on any mother. When my children were only six months old and two years old, I left an abusive relationship and shortly after entered the shelter system.

I met House of Lazarus as I was transitioning from a women’s shelter to a small apartment of my own. I will never forget how blessed I felt to have a fridge full of food on my first night in my own place. However, on that first night, I never could’ve guessed what an important role House of Lazurus would play in my family’s life over the next two years.

“But it’s certainly not just about the food they give me. I believe that the entire staff is sincerely hoping for me to succeed.”

Countless times they were there for me when I just couldn’t make ends meet as a single mom. My young children were given a Christmas I could not have afforded for them. Thanks to the considerate and generous people in my community, we have received many extras like birthday hats I would’ve not otherwise had. But it’s certainly not just about the food they give me. I believe that the entire staff is sincerely hoping for me to succeed. When I encounter roadblocks, they go above and beyond to make sure I am aware of what community agencies can do to help. If I ever just need to talk, I know there are plenty of caring ears that will listen at House of Lazarus.

Last year, I made the decision to go back to school and the House of Lazarus celebrated with me. I recently finished my first year of university and I’m starting to work in my field, even though I have one more year of study.

I know that without their support behind me I would not be where I am today. I am also very aware of how lucky I am. Many women of abuse cannot break the cycle of poverty, but because of the outstanding personalized care I received through my local food bank, I am well on my way to being completely self-sufficient again.

There will never be appropriate words to express how thankful I am for the role House of Lazarus played in keeping me safe and fed through some of the darkest times of my life as well as celebrating with me as I move it through to the other side. I will always be grateful.

Submitted by House of Lazarus Link opens a new window as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.

Thank you to Hunger Action Month sponsor, Cargill Canada!