I come from a middle income family and I have a degree from the University of Ottawa. I was married at 21 and I immediately found
work in my field. By the age of 28, I had started my family and by the age of 34 I had three children.

I decided to work for myself as a consultant and was the major bread winner of the family. At that point I felt like I had it all: my beautiful family, my fantastic career, the new house, the new car and the trips down south.

“My goal is to dispel the myth of the type of people who require food bank services.”

But in 2005 I fell on hard times. I lost it all! I was left with debt, no job and the child support I had to pay was accumulating. I was living on a bare bones budget. My mental health was taking a hit. The confident woman I knew myself to be all these years was replaced with
a woman who was scared of everything.

In came the Agape Centre Food Bank. I must have waited weeks before finally making an appointment. I remember like it was yesterday, waiting with my mom, I couldn’t stop crying, I was beside myself, I couldn’t talk. I still had too much money? How could that
be? It sure wasn’t my reality! Why would the Agape Centre care that I was in such financial difficulty and personal turmoil?

Well they did! They were extremely empathetic. This service helped ease the incredible stress I was under. I came to the Agape Centre throughout the winter months using both their food bank services and clothing allowance program. A few weeks before Christmas, a huge truck showed up at my house with all these people who each had boxes and bags of groceries, everything you needed for Christmas dinner and food that would last for weeks. Then, Santa walked in with presents for the children. The look in their eyes was priceless. The Agape Centre had given my name to a local business who “adopted” us. This wonderful surprise allowed me to free up resources to buy a few Christmas gifts.

Fast forward ten years. In an effort to give back I offered to register people for the Christmas baskets. I spoke to clients and listened to their stories. They were extremely grateful, relieved and emotional during the process. We exchanged many well wishes and lots of hugs. I could completely empathize with most clients and as we chatted I hoped that for those 10 minutes together they would find solace in a non-judgmental environment.

I have since been invited to the Board of Directors. My goal is to dispel the myth of the type of people who require food bank services.
I want to give back to my community. I want to bridge the link between clients and services.

Submitted by the Agape Centre Food Bank 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!