Two Belding-area women fight cancer and hunger

A month before Rosemary attended her first Mobile Food Pantry, she learned she has breast cancer. She’s already had one surgery and may need another, according to her doctors.

Four years ago, she moved from Georgia to her hometown of Belding, Michigan, to help her son as he recovered from a quadruple bypass surgery.

“Now, he’s trying to help me out,” Rosemary said. “But he has bills to pay, too.”

At the Mobile Food Pantry, volunteers filled Rosemary’s car with fresh produce, dairy products and other food to stock her cupboards and fridge. This resource gives her some wiggle room in her budget, which is strained more than usual due to medical bills.

“I’ll tell you – this helps out a lot,” she said.

It’s common for neighbors to struggle to put food on the table when they’re faced with a life-altering diagnosis such as cancer. According to a study by Feeding America, 66 percent of neighbors who rely on food banks like ours across the country “report choosing between paying for food and medicine or medical care each year, and 31 percent do so every month.”

Denise is another neighbor who attends Mobile Food Pantries to help make ends meet. Similar to Rosemary, Denise is facing lung cancer. She visited the Belding High School Mobile Pantry last month with her granddaughter, who often visits her and loves “spaghetti and fruit.”

For Denise, it’s not always easy to attend the food distributions.

“I get very emotional. This is really hard for me to do. It honestly is. But both my daughter and my son, they keep telling me, ‘Mom, you have got to swallow your pride. You need help.’”

“I’m trying,” Denise said. “But it’s hard.”

No one should feel embarrassed to attend Mobile Pantries or receive other forms of food support. Feeding America West Michigan is proud to serve those who courageously ask for help in times of need. Thanks to supporters like Cargill and the Ionia County Youth Advisory Council – who help sponsor Belding High School Mobile Pantries – we can continue serving neighbors like these in Ionia County and across our service area.

Story written by Communication Specialist Juliana Ludema.