Paying it forward: Elisa's story

Elisa helps her friend Steven choose the best items, based on his guided shopping list.


A vast mix of people come to the PACS Food Pantry. Each has their own background and story.
Elisa is one of those people. Her fortunes crumbled when the boss she had thrived under passed away. She quickly found herself unemployed, struggling to get back on her feet, and running out of food.
As Elisa tries to get her life back on track, she has avoided going hungry, thanks to the PACS Food Pantry. She says she doesn’t come every month. There are people who need it more. But when push comes to shove, the pantry is there for her.
We went through the pantry with Elisa in mid-March to capture her experience. It was a crowded day, as is still too often the case since the Great Recession. On this day, the line behind the checkout stand extended all the way to the entrance.












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Elisa had brought a friend with her. Steven was an older gentleman on a fixed income. As Elisa chose her food, she paused often to help him decipher his shopping list and choose the best items.

As the line of people inched forward, a few began to grow impatient. Elisa and Steven kept their cool, stayed with their carts, and let the process take its course.

In time, their patience paid off, as they both emerged with a healthy supply of apples, squash, cereal, bread, dairy, protein, and other items critical to a balanced diet.

But what if the pantry wasn’t there? Food insecurity is a silent destroyer, even for those who do manage to eventually get help and avoid going hungry. The search for basic resources can be incredibly time consuming. That is time that people in need could spend on activities that might lift them out of poverty such as job-hunting or pursuing educational opportunities. And it’s even worse for their children, for whom nutrition and parental availability is critical for healthy development.
Thankfully, the PACS Food Pantry is there, removing that barrier, meeting basic needs, and giving people a chance at a better future. It helps people both now and in the future. A 2012 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that children of low-income families who have access to safety net programs like food support often show higher levels of self-sufficiency later in life.
Did you know that YOU can help make programs like this possible? They only exist because people like you donate your time and talent to make a difference. It is critical that PACS sustains these programs for people who are struggling to get back on their feet.
Help someone today by donating, or signing up to volunteer. Thank you so much, and may God bless you for the incredible impact you have.

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