Resilince, hope and a pantry full of kindness
A customer story from the Mobile Foodbank
Neto’s smile radiated warmth as he stood in the Mobile Foodbank queue. But behind it, a deeper story unfolded. “Foodbank has been helping me for so many years,” he shared. “I’ve been coming here for three and half years, since COVID hit.” The echoes of past hardship reverberated in his words: 12-hour days that barely kept the bills paid, the sudden sting of job loss and the gnawing fear of not having enough for his children.
“It’s not just the food,” Neto continued, eyes meeting yours with a disarming honesty. “When Centrelink wasn’t there, Foodbank was. They don’t judge, they just help. You guys are honestly angels,” his voice dipped, “It alleviated the pressure. Without you, things would have been… bad. Starvation bad.”
From the scars of the El Salvadorian civil war during childhood to the emotional trauma of an assault, he has faced storms that would break most. Yet he stood tall, not with anger, but with quiet determination.
“I was assaulted at work and got PTSD. I couldn’t work in that space anymore. While recovering, I just couldn’t work. I went back to uni so I could change careers and get a job that would support my two children as they grow up,” he explains.
“If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be feeding my family. I usually look at my shopping bags and think there’s $300 worth of stuff here for $50.”
Yesterday, Neto donned his graduation gown, the culmination of a gruelling year marked by unwavering grit. Holding his degree, he whispers, “I’m excited to start applying for real jobs again. My dream is to come back and be in a position to give to Foodbank.”
His story isn’t just about overcoming struggles; it’s about the unwavering human spirit rising, refusing to be defined by circumstance.
Published: Wednesday, 3 January 2024