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With the holiday season just around the corner, I can’t help but feel extra grateful for everything you’ve done for our neighbors experiencing hunger.
While many of us have returned to our normal lives, we’re all seeing soaring prices in the grocery store and at the gas pump. These surging costs create additional hardships for families facing hunger. And while no one should go hungry at any time of year, somehow it seems to hurt more during the holidays. This year, families will have an even tougher time.
But thanks to friends like you who support the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank, families in our community don’t have to worry about how they’ll put food
on the table this holiday season — or any time of year!
Please read through this edition of Food Matters and see the difference you’re making for neighbors in need. For families whose budgets are stretched beyond their limits.
Then, I hope you’ll consider giving a gift to help even more families. When every $10 helps provide enough food for 20 meals, you can make a big difference.
President and CEO
As a fifth-grade math and special education teacher with a master’s degree, Bobby loved his career.
But when his mother got sick and needed his help, Bobby didn’t hesitate to quit his job and move back home with her. He had originally planned on finding work as a substitute teacher until he could get a new teaching license, but the COVID-19 pandemic presented some unforeseen challenges making it difficult to do so.
Still, Bobby knew he had to do everything he could to help his mom, so he says he got a job working at a thrift store, “to keep the lights on.” Unfortunately, his paycheck from the thrift store just doesn’t stretch far enough to cover the cost of utilities and necessities, like food.
That’s why Bobby is so grateful for friends like you who support the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank. Because of you, Bobby can go to his local food pantry and get all the nutritious food he and his mom need to stay healthy.
Even better, he also can get everything he needs for a special Thanksgiving meal! “That’ll be my contribution to the family dinner,” Bobby says.
Although he misses teaching, he’s grateful to be around family at this special time of year, and he’s looking forward to spending the holidays with his mom, aunt, and cousins.
Thank you for brightening the holidays for families like Bobby’s. Your support will make such a difference for families facing hunger this holiday season.
Some families are only one illness, accident, or unexpected hardship away from hunger. Last year, Bridget and Kevin faced an impossible choice: would they buy food or medicine?
After 25 years of working in landscaping, Kevin retired to become the primary caregiver for his father, who was battling dementia. “We always made sure his dad had his meds,” Bridget says, though her work as a restaurant manager wasn’t enough to cover groceries and other expenses for the family of five, including their two teenage daughters.
“We needed the help to get from paycheck to paycheck,” Bridget says. Thanks to her local pantry, they still had food. “You have that sense of relief that if you can’t do anything else, you can feed your family,” she continues. Not long after Kevin’s father died last fall, Bridget contracted COVID-19 at work. Kevin cared for her as she struggled with extreme symptoms for nearly three weeks. By the time she was healthy enough to return to the restaurant, she no longer had a job. “I can only imagine if the food shelf wasn’t there, what we would have done. My income was gone,” Bridget says.
Her local pantry offers shopping at a pantry laid out like a grocery store, as well as mobile distributions throughout the community. The staff and volunteers at the pantry are like family to Bridget and Kevin. “They treat you like a person that they know,” she says. “I feel comfortable there.”
Bridget and Kevin are thankful they can rely on their local pantry, especially during the holiday season. “When we have the food like for the holidays, that means a lot because I can make the ham, the sweet potatoes, have the cranberries, the stuffing, all the fixings that go with a holiday meal, which is a good feeling,” Kevin says.
Recently, Bridget started a new job with better pay. After a tumultuous couple of years, life is finally starting to stabilize for the family. “They help you get to where you won’t need them anymore,” Bridget says. The family loves to give back to the pantry, and donates boxes of food whenever they can. “We don’t always have it, but when we do, we go give back,” she says. “When we need help, they have us.”
Thank you for helping families like Bridget and Kevin’s. Your support today can help even more families this holiday season.
As Roberta pulled up to her local holiday food distribution, her 9-year-old son, Elijah, was sitting in the back seat, a computer on his lap, doing schoolwork. Meanwhile, her daughter, the bubbly, rambunctious 4-year-old Eliona, just wanted to charm the volunteers.
“She loves being the center of attention,” Roberta laughed as Eliona popped out of the car, giggling and jumping around. Roberta has a career in home health care, but needed a little extra help this year affording food for Thanksgiving. She knew her local food bank would be there for her.
“This is going to help a lot,” she said as volunteers loaded bags of holiday food — including a ham and sides — into her trunk. “We’ll have this for the holiday, and then have leftovers for a while, too.”
The food helps Roberta make the day special for her family, but she’s focused on more than that. “It would be a normal day without this food,” she said. “I’m grateful for the food and I’m just really thankful for all the blessings we have.”
Your continued support helps fill the holiday season with hope and joy — and the foods that make this time of year special. Thank you!