Determined, Courageous, Resourceful: Three Families’ Stories

We meet many resilient parents fighting hunger in their own homes. Their stories are unique, but one aspect is always the same: They do whatever they can to ensure their children have the food they need.

Monique puts food in her car.

Monique is determined.

She’s raising two kids, Jordan, 14, and Sierra, 10, all on her own, but doesn’t let that stop her from ensuring they have what they need.

She is eager to receive fresh fruits and vegetables at the Mobile Pantries she attends near her home in downtown Benton Harbor. The resource helps nourish her growing kids and she’s able to bring a box full of food to her aging mother, too.

When Monique’s kids are at school, she cares for her mother, as well as her two siblings who are disabled. Monique is glad she can support her family without straining her small budget and SNAP benefits further.

“It really helps out,” she said.

During the summer, it’s even harder for Monique to feed her kids because they don’t receive free breakfast and lunch when school is not in session. This year, she plans to keep an eye out for Meet Up & Eat Up sites, where her kids can receive a free meal each day.

Kharey's family poses with their groceries.

Kharey is courageous.

Hunger caught her family of five by surprise. She and her husband both had jobs and were able to support their three children — Ezrah, 4, Raven, 6, and Karah, 19.

Then, Raven began needing extra help in school and Ezrah was diagnosed with autism.

Kharey made the difficult choice to quit her job to stay home with her kids. Without Kharey’s income, food became harder and harder to buy
because they needed to allocate funds toward utilities and their mortgage. Kharey’s husband made just a bit too much money for the family to qualify for SNAP and other resources, so they weren’t sure what to do.

Things turned around for the family when they learned about Mobile Food Pantries. Kharey says that without this option they “would probably starve.”

Julie, Chris and Cameron sit in their car while waiting at a Mobile Pantry.

Julie and Chris are resourceful.

They live in Lakeview, a small town in Montcalm County surrounded by countryside. They’re a blended family doing their best to raise four kids.

6-year-old Cameron came along on the family’s recent visit to a Mobile Pantry, and was eager to help his dad load their car with grapefruit, potatoes, milk, and other food they received.

It’s tough at times for Cameron’s parents to feed their kids. But they know how to make the most of the resources around them. During the warmer months, they plant a garden and purchase low-cost food from local Amish families. Throughout the year, they use food from Mobile Pantries and traditional pantries to ensure there’s enough food in their cupboards.

“It helps get us by and make ends meet,” Julie said.

We all need help sometimes. Feeding America West Michigan is glad to support resilient families like these.