I couldn't get to the pantry downtown, so I was all for the idea of having one right here for us. A lot of us use it and need it.
Affectionately referred to as "mom" by other residents in the senior community in Pepin, Gertrude's* smile was contagious. "I have more 'kids' who don't actually belong to me than I can count. I think it's because I always want to help if I can," she shared as she sat on the seat of her walker in the community room.
The small room serves as a space for residents to gather and for the past two years each Wednesday transforms into a food pantry. "Many of us living here do not drive or can't travel very far," she explained. "I couldn't get to the pantry downtown, so I was all for the idea of having one right here for us. A lot of us use it and need it."
Gertrude, along with many of the other residents, has diabetes making accessing food that meets her dietary needs more difficult. "Now [that the pantry is here] it's not often I go without," she shared. "Before, there were weeks when I wasn't sure what there would be to eat or how my body would act."
As she walked around the pantry she filled the basket on her walker with lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, frozen meat, milk, canned chicken, and much more that the pantry was able to receive through their partnership with the food bank.
Gertrude is not alone. There are many community members similar to Gertrude who have worked hard their entire life and now cannot afford foods that meet their dietary restrictions and health needs. Your help is needed to keep healthy choices on the shelves for these community members who rely on food from the food bank.
*Name of resident has been changed