New Faces of Hunger: Dan’s Story

Published on June 13, 2014

“Cancer is something you never expect. After noticing some symptoms, my wife convinced me to see a doctor. He gave us the news: Melanoma. Suddenly, everything changed. Once you’re diagnosed with cancer, your life will never be the same.” – Dan from Gloucester


Dan, a Navy veteran and chef, is a hardworking father dedicated to his family and his passion for cooking. Dan taught himself everything he knows about cooking, and helped open one of the most prominent restaurants in Boston.
When he was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer his family’s life completely changed. Once a two income household, Dan’s wife Tammy became responsible for all household and medical bills, and for taking care of Dan and their three children. Tammy tried to keep working while caring for Dan after his chemo and surgeries, but the demand of being his caregiver and raising their children became too much. Tammy worked harder than she ever worked before – but unfortunately they couldn’t keep up with expenses.

They went through their savings and Dan’s 401k, eventually hitting rock bottom. They had no money, and couldn’t even afford groceries. Tammy had heard of The Open Door Food Pantry – but neither of them wanted to visit. They didn’t think food pantries were for people like them – there were other people that needed those services more. Eventually, they swallowed their pride and did what they had to do to feed their family. When Dan and Tammy visited The Open Door, they realized they were wrong. It was for people like them – people who needed help during a tough time. By providing them with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and more, The Open Door helped Dan’s family survive during a time when he was too sick to provide. Dan said, “I can deal with cancer, but I’m not sure I could deal with my children going hungry.” The past few years have been devastating for Dan and his family, but the good news is, Dan is cancer free now. He has a significant amount of physical therapy before he can return to work, but he is hopeful that day will come soon.

The Greater Boston Food Bank provides over 540 pantries in Eastern Massachusetts, like The Open Door, with 48 million pounds of nutritious food each year to help people like Dan.

“To all the people that make it possible to get the help that we need when we need it, I just want to say thank you. Thank you very much – you are amazing.” – Dan, Gloucester, Ma

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