While thousands of individuals are lining up at food banks in cities across the country each week, millions experienced food insecurity this past Thanksgiving. “It’s hard to feel grateful when your kids are hungry,” says Kalia, a single mom to two young boys living in St. Louis, Missouri who filled out a form on PandemicofLove.com to request help with groceries and essentials. Kalia was furloughed in June and has still not been rehired at the factory where she was has worked for over 11 years. She has worked her way through all of her savings and now, the woman who used to volunteer at her local church’s food bank, found herself turning to the kindness of strangers and organizations to simply get by.
In September, Kalia received a phone call from Judith, a single mother in Kansas City, who was matched with her by the mutual aid organization. Judith wrote in her donor form, “I am happy to pay for weekly groceries and prefer to be matched to a single mom. I know what it is like to struggle and I never want another family to go through what I had to go through in my darkest moments.” The two women became fast friends and Judith has been sending Kalia enough money each Friday to stock up on groceries for the week ahead. Kalia says, “Of course I appreciate Judith’s help with our groceries, it is one less stressor for me and I don’t have to spend hours in line each week at the food bank, but what I appreciate the most about her is how she listens to me and how I feel like I can get things off of my chest. I have no one to vent to and she helps me reduce my anxiety in more than just a financial way.”
Judith recalls the months after her husband passed in a car accident, when her children were toddlers and they struggled to keep a roof over their heads and eat three square meals a day: “I didn’t want to be rich, I didn’t want to not have to work hard to provide for my children; all I wanted was the basics, all I wanted was enough.” Now that she has financial stability and “more than enough” she helps women like Kalia weekly by making sure they have enough.
In a time when families are experiencing food insecurity, enough is a feast.
Pandemic of Love is a grassroots, volunteer-led mutual aid organization that seeks to find assistance for people adversely affected by the pandemic.