In 2010, Ron came to the Barrie Food Bank in need of food. He had struggled in his life with alcohol, and after working several part-time jobs, he found himself unemployed and drinking on a more regular basis. He was having a difficult time finding work, so he went on Ontario Works and got his $682 a month, of which he spent $500 on a room.

He continued to use the food bank every month for a few years until one of our intake workers suggested that perhaps he should consider going to the Learning Centre to complete his Grade 12. The intake worker added, “If you got your Grade 12, you could start looking for work again.” That comment seemed to stick with Ron. Very shortly after, he registered at the Learning Centre. He gave up drinking alcohol and focused on completing his Grade 12.

“You never really know what happens to people when they stop visiting.”

Ron would continue to come to the food bank fairly regularly for the next couple of years, but eventually he stopped coming. You never really know what happens to people when they stop visiting: did they move, pass on, or find work and not need our service anymore? Many times, we never find out.

In October of 2015, Ron came back to the food bank and asked for Peter, our executive director. Peter came out and greeted Ron, and Ron asked if he could speak with him privately. Ron said he wanted to make a donation to the food bank because he was so grateful for all the support he had received over the years. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a $100 bill, and said, “I would like to donate this $100.” He proceeded to say that he had completed his Grade 12, got a full-time job, rented an apartment, and even bought a used car all in the last year.

Ron got his life back together because we were able to support him and encourage him, but most importantly, something was triggered in Ron’s mind to be determined to get his life back on track.

Today, Ron makes annual donations to the food bank.

Submitted by the Barrie Food Bank Link opens a new window as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.

Thanks to Hunger Action Month sponsor, Cargill Canada!