Food shelf was for others, until it was for their family

Our family never thought that we’d be on the receiving end of a food shelf. Up until two years ago when unemployment became part of our reality, we had always given to food shelves. We are a family of five, and the cost of groceries can add up very fast, even with me couponing and being a diligent shopper we still needed to reach out for help from CAER. CAER has made a profound impact on our family. I have always been met with encouraging smiles, and my interactions with the workers and volunteers have always been nonjudgemental, supportive and caring.

From my very first time visiting CAER two years ago, I’ve had the honor of meeting many dads, moms and children. They, too, have been the recipients of hard times and make tough decisions monthly about paying bills or putting food on the table. This is where CAER bridges that gap. For my family and countless others, CAER has provided healthy, nutritious food. The new set-up at CAER allows clients to pick out the food that best fits their needs. They also provide infant/toddler items, toiletries, paper products, clothing, holiday meals and kids items in the summer and are a great resource for other help as needed.

The families who wait in line outside CAER’s doors are your friends, family and neighbors. Their kids go to school with your kids. They have hopes and dreams, too. And, like myself, never thought they’d be asking for food. One thing I’ve always noticed are the smiles from old and young as they fill their cars with groceries.

Hunger isn’t just an urban issue; it’s a rural and suburban issue, a Sherburne County issue. We all need to eat, not just on holidays but every day. CAER makes a huge impact on families not just by providing food, but for the hope that goes with it.

Thank you for helping my family, for giving me hope and for your listening ear. Thank you, CAER, for all you do; your timeless efforts and your servants’ hearts are so much appreciated.

CAER has etched a special place on my heart, and when my tough times have ceased, I will still be going to CAER. But this time I will be a volunteer. — Kristin (Editor’s note: The writer asked the Star News to not include her last name, because she has school-aged children.  We at the newspaper made a rare exception and granted her wish. 

Our hope at the Star News is that Kristin’s letter will lessen the stigma associated with food shelves, and, when in need people won’t hesitate to visit CAER to give their family a hand up in a difficult time.)