It was another busy Friday at United Food Bank’s Help Yourself program facility in Mesa as people lined up to purchase food boxes for $17 each. The boxes are intended to help struggling individuals and families stretch tight food budgets and can feed a family of four for a week.
Sagé Randall, United Food Bank’s director of programs and services, noticed a woman who appeared to become more agitated as she edged closer to the front of the line. “I sensed there was something going on with her, so I invited her into my office where we could talk privately. She broke down.
“She worked in real estate and had just lost her job. She was a single mom raising her teenage son. She was on unemployment and she was running short of money. She said it was the first time she had ever asked for help and was very upset.”
The mom found out about United Food Bank from her son, a high school senior
who volunteered at the food bank as part of an Honor Society project. “I explained to her that the food bank is about neighbors helping neighbors, that everyone needs help from time to time,” Randall said.
“She’s back at work now, but things are still slow, so there isn’t much money coming in. So we still see her. Her son is in college now, but she’s dealing with some medical issues. She’s so thankful for the help the food bank has been able to provide. She likes to can fruits and vegetables and sometimes will bring us some jars.”
“These people could be us at any time,” said Denise Montana, United Food Bank’s agency relations coordinator. “There are so many stories like this one. So many people who need a little extra help to get by.”
United Food Bank is one of 28 local agencies that receive funding from Mesa United Way and provide a wide range of services for people of all ages.