Parents in crisis find support at Marcellus Mobile Pantries

A year ago, Diana learned her 15-year-old daughter has a disability. She’d been working, but quit her job so she could stay home and care for her child. This difficult but necessary choice soon made it challenging for her to put food on the table, so she began joining her own mom at the monthly Mobile Food Pantry hosted by the Marcellus Community Food Pantry.

Diana and her mom, Cathy, wait in line at a Marcellus Mobile Pantry.

At the Mobile Pantries, Diana stocks up on fresh produce, dairy and other food that helps ensure her plate and those of her 15-year-old and 4-year-old stay full.

“They’re really good people,” Diana said of the volunteers. “They help out people who need it. You get stuff you don’t have at home here.”

Diana’s story mirrors that of the many parents who choose to leave jobs in order to better meet their children’s needs. Other parents lose their jobs without choosing to, like Tonya, another Mobile Pantry attendee, and her husband. After a surgery, Tonya was laid off — just a short while after her husband lost his own job.

On top of that, Tonya and her husband recently gained custody of their three grandchildren — ages 5, 4 and 2. This means they have lots of plates to fill! Tonya at first didn’t want to “resort” to receiving food assistance after her job loss, but soon realized the resource was there for her to lift herself and her family back up.

Tonya (left) and a friend pose with food they received at a Mobile Pantry.

“I had to swallow my pride,” she said. She encouraged anyone in need who might be hesitating to visit a Mobile Pantry to “do it — you can always repay by helping when you get back up on your feet.”

Dee Dee, a Mobile Pantry volunteer, is doing just this. A few years ago, her husband was in a really bad accident.

“Our community came together, paid our rent, brought us groceries, let us use a car,” she recalled.

Last fall, she moved to Marcellus to be near her mom Estela, who is director of the Marcellus Community Food Pantry. Now, Dee Dee volunteers alongside her mom and daughter to ensure those in the community feel cared for.

Dee Dee (center) with her mom and daughter — three generations of hunger warriors!

“I want people to feel the way we felt when our community came together with us. Everyone needs help at some point in their life, and that’s what we’re here for.”

Feeding America West Michigan believes this wholeheartedly. No matter someone’s life situation, our many partners and volunteers are ready to fill their plates.

This year, support from the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation helped the Marcellus Community Food Pantry provide four Mobile Pantries for neighbors facing crises like those Diana and Tonya are facing. We’re proud to work alongside many who make hunger-relief efforts possible in our community, and could not provide Mobile Food Pantries and other resources without the support of so many like the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation!