More Than Just Food, It's HOPE
In a line full of people, Gary was not shy about sharing his story. “Anything I can do to help, since you guys helped me,” he said with a friendly tone and a smile.
In April 2012, Gary made a brave decision to start going to Catholic Charities’ HOPE Food Pantry in an effort to supply food for his family.
Encouraging healthy lifestyles
A few years ago, Gary moved to Mansfield from Marion, Ohio, after finding a new job and a place for his family to live in Mansfield.
Not long after moving, there was a sudden downturn in the economy, and his family’s income took a big hit.
“I sell appliances and with the economy the way it is right now, people aren’t buying things. Sometimes I don’t make enough money to cover the bills, the food, and the rent,” he says.
The transition of moving to a new town and the challenges of a slow economy not only impacted Gary’s income, but his health was at risk, too.
“I’m a diabetic, and I was waiting for my (public) prescription assistance to be approved. I needed medication to get me through until then.”
His doctor referred him to Catholic Charities while he waited for his assistance. “I needed my insulin, and Catholic Charities paid for it. If I didn’t get the insulin, I probably would’ve been in the hospital, if not worse.”
The HOPE Food Pantry was also able to help Gary maintain a healthy lifestyle. “It’s not just food to eat. It’s really important that I try to manage my diet.”
“Catholic Charities helped me because I don’t have to go out and buy the cheapest food possible, which may not be good for my health.”
A Powerful Force
After coming to the pantry for over a year, Gary sees the services of Catholic Charities as nothing short of a blessing.
“It’s just amazing when you sit down and look at what you’ve prayed for,” he says. “What you have and what you don’t, it all adds up. I think prayer is probably the single most powerful thing in the world. Without God, I wouldn’t be here today. Without God in my life, I would be dead right now.”
Gary’s advice to other families who are going through tough times is clear: “Don’t be embarrassed because you need help. Sometimes we get in the way of ourselves and you can’t let pride get in the way of helping yourself or your family.”