The holidays are a time of joy and thankfulness, but for some families in the Coastal Bend, the holidays bring worry and stress. Families, like Brandie’s, struggle to afford enough nutritious groceries to fill their cabinets and feed their children. Brandie and her husband, Wes, both work in the school system; Wes as a teacher and Brandie as a substitute. They overwork themselves to provide for their three children: Skyler, 12, Waylon, 10, and their youngest, River, 5. Luckily, the family could sign up for Toys for Tots so that their kids won’t have to go without this Christmas. Skyler is very artistic, and she’s hoping for some crafts and music. Waylon is a huge Star Wars and Lego aficionado, and little River loves her baby dolls and princesses.
While the kids will have presents under the tree, it doesn’t solve their grumbling tummies. “Mentally it’s hard to be in this position,” Brandie says of having to ask for help. Recently, Brandie and Wes fell behind on a student loan payment and now their monthly payments have jumped to $700. In addition, their health insurance deducts over $1,000 a month to insure their whole family. Brandie wishes they could go without health insurance, but with Wes’ rheumatoid arthritis and having the kids, Brandie knows this is not an option. With these payments, along with car payments, utility bills and other expenses, Brandie didn’t know where to turn for help. That’s when a friend told her about St. Christopher’s by the Sea Food Pantry in Portland.
Here she’s able to pick out nutritious items to make meals for her family. “If it weren’t for this I don’t know what we would do,” she admits. She was welcomed with open arms at the pantry, and she says she is very grateful that when her kids come home from school today and say that they’re hungry, they won’t have to open empty cupboards. Without friends and supporters like you, our food pantries would not be able to function. Brandie is overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that make this operation possible. “Thank you. You have no idea how powerful this organization is to people who actually need it.”
Story courtesy of Lauren Pfeifer- Agency Relations Coordinator during a recent monitoring trip to St. Christopher’s By the Sea Food Pantry located in Portland, Texas.