Can you imagine going days without eating? What if you could not afford medicine and groceries? Which would you choose? These are real dilemmas that many face every day. It is hard to imagine as most of us get cranky if we miss more than one meal.
Carol Hilleary, the director of Family Services at Union Mission, sees the faces of hunger on a daily basis.
“It’s not always who you might think and it can be overwhelming at times. I see grandparents raising their grandchildren because their parents are in jail or on drugs. Many do without eating so the children can eat.
One such lady was Ms. Dee*, a precious seventy year old grandmother who came to me for food and assistance. She was raising her two grandchildren ages seven and nine. As her health deteriorated, Ms. Dee was in a wheel chair, diabetic, lost her foot and on kidney dialysis. She was a funny little thing and I remember her determination to take care of herself. In recent
months, her neighbor had been stopping by to pick up food for her and the children. On his last visit, he told me that Ms. Dee had passed away and there was no one to take the children. My heart breaks for those children and I will miss Ms. Dee.
Many people who come to us for the first time struggle with asking for help. They can’t believe they are here. I have seen an increase in the number of coal miners needing assistance. Some of them are in shock at the circumstances they find themselves in. They had good paying jobs for many years and just like that, it all disappeared.
Even though I am here to serve and help others, I often realize they are helping me too. Ms. Betty* is one such lady that touches my heart. She is fifty years old and disease is attacking her body. Her vision is limited as she has lost one eye and the other eye has an implant. Yet, despite all that she is going through, her laughter and smiles are contagious. I don’t know how she does it. She
always tells me, ‘You know, I am up for adoption. Do you want to take me home?’ She writes the most beautiful poetry which she shares with me. I have learned much about her through her poems.
In Family Services, we see hundreds of hurting people each month and each has a story to share. They are all important to us! On the days I get tired and find myself absorbing their pain, I remind myself that I am here to let God work through me and make someone else’s day a little better.”
In West Virginia nearly one in seven individuals struggle with hunger and one in four children do not have sufficient access to food.
We hope you will join us to ensure that no one goes to bed hungry. At Union Mission, we feed people! It’s what we do!
* Ms. Dee and Ms. Brenda’s stories are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy