Zuri Dixon* knows something about navigating through adversity—and the value of a helping hand, especially during the holidays.
A 40-year-old mother of four teenagers—all of them with special needs—her days are dedicated to managing school and doctor’s appointments. Her husband works full-time, but they often find themselves mired in the frustration of accessing benefits: “We qualify for free lunches,” she explains, “but we don’t qualify for SNAP, and I’m always going back and forth with Social Security… to try to keep healthcare benefits.”
For nearly 14 years, GBFB partner Beverly Bootstraps of Beverly, MA, has been her go-to provider of food support, particularly at this time of year. “That holiday food helps a lot… A family like mine might have spent $200 on a Thanksgiving meal. And we’ve cut it down to $50 now for just the items to go with whatever the pantry gives us.”
“It’s about helping people function in their lives and feeling included, being able to be a part of the world.”
But it’s not just about the food, she says. It’s so much more. “This is where I can go to get a backpack if I need one, if I need help filling out an application for something—copies, whatever—I can come here… It’s about helping people function in their lives and feeling included, being able to be a part of the world.”
“There’s been a couple of times I couldn’t get here, and they delivered the food to my house,” she adds. “They brought the food in the trucks directly to my house! What kind of people do that? They knew, and it was because I’m traveling back and forth, and my child is sick… things like that.”
So, what would she say to a potential donor?
“I think I would tell them that if they could understand that people struggle, people are really trying hard and it’s a difficult time right now… it could make a difference in changing someone’s world.”
*Name has been changed and images are representative