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When people live in poverty, they are often just an illness or job loss away from financial crisis.
The Catholic Charities Food Pantry exists to bridge that gap, and Food Pantry manager Terri Clarke recently saw that truth in action.
A young woman came into the food pantry in August with her little boy and said she had just gotten out of the hospital due to a serious infection in an abscessed tooth. She still wasn’t feeling well, but she had paid her rent and didn’t have any money left for groceries. With four children, that was a real problem, and she was very grateful to be able to come to the food pantry for food. She had travelled by bus because she didn’t have a car.
School had just started for the year, and the young woman told Terri that she also needed to get out and get school supplies for her children. Fortunately, Catholic Charities has an annual school supply drive, so Terri asked the woman to fill out the intake forms and gave her four backpacks containing school supplies.
“She was crying. She was so grateful for everything,” Terri said.
As the young woman gathered up her groceries and school supplies, she realized she would have trouble carrying it all to the bus stop that was about a mile away – so she tried to put some of the food in the backpacks. Another food pantry customer saw her struggling and decided to help the young mother carry all of her items down to the bus stop.
“The Lord was really working through these two women,” Terri said. “They became friends.’’
Serving in the Catholic Charities Food Pantry is truly serving on the front lines of poverty in Memphis, where nearly one in four people live in poverty. “It is really humbling,” Terri said.
Learn more about how to help here.