Fifty-two-year-old Laurie turns to the Salvation Army in New Bedford for spiritual and emotional support. She volunteers there, and also receives some of the healthy food her family needs but sometimes can’t afford. GBFB provides most of the food distributed by the Salvation Army’s food pantry and meal program, which serves about 600 people per week.
“I love the people at the Salvation Army. They’ve been here for me during the hardest times of my life, especially when my beautiful 10-year-old daughter, Paige, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Everybody here loved Paige and made her feel loved as her illness progressed. As our medical bills started to pile up, we knew we could always count on the friendly faces and healthy food. When she died last August, I was devastated. I miss waking up every day and caring for her. I miss her so much.
“Now, I live in public housing with my fiancée, Vince, and we’re both on disability. Even with food stamps, we don’t have enough to buy the food we need. I’m also diabetic and have to eat as healthy as possible. I’m trying to follow a better diet so I can get off my expensive medication.
“Vince and I are so grateful to the Salvation Army, and we are involved and give back as much as we can. He’s a volunteer driver and goes all over picking up and delivering food. I help out in the kitchen preparing and serving our community meals on Sundays and Wednesdays, and I also sing in the choir.
“But what I like most is volunteering at the after-school youth program, where I help the kids with their homework and feed them supper. Caring for them makes me feel close to Paige.
“We’ll be thinking about Paige at the Salvation’s holiday community meals this year. She used to love the full plate of food – mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce and corn! Those holiday meals have become a tradition for us, and I know I’m with family.”