Chris and his wife, Laura, have a busy household. They not only take care of their high school son and Chris’ elderly father, but also their 4-year-old granddaughter, who spends her after-school hours at their house while her mother works evening shifts.
Laura has a full-time job in food services at the local school district, but doesn’t earn any income over summer while schools are closed. This hadn’t been a problem since Chris had a steady job with good income and the summer break allows Laura to spend time with Chris’ father, who is in fragile health due to respiratory issues.
Life changed significantly for the family in April. Chris lost his job when the business he worked for closed without any warning. The family struggled to keep their home and put food on the table. When Chris’ father refused to eat in effort to “help” the family, he became very weak and stopped interacting with anyone. Chris and Laura were scared and didn’t know what would happen to their family as Laura only had a few paychecks until the school year was over.
Finally, they approached St. Vincent de Paul for help with rent and food. When volunteers arrived in their home with an emergency food box filled to the brim with staples like milk, eggs, vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, 4-year-old Sarah smiled with delight and immediately asked for a sandwich. She then took the sandwich into the family room where her great-grandfather spent his days, withdrawn and refusing food. Sarah told her great-grandfather that he didn’t have to worry anymore because the family has so much peanut butter and jelly that they would never be hungry again!
Tearing the sandwich into bite-size pieces, Sarah coaxed her great-grandfather to eat with her. After 15 minutes, the great-grandfather began to eat and when they were both satisfied, he began to talk to Sarah and the family again.
For the rest of summer it became Sarah and her great-grandfather’s special afternoon treat to share peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and read her favorite books.
Chris was beyond grateful and relieved for the help they received last summer. His family is doing better now, but whenever he makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, he still remembers how a humble sandwich fed his family while nourishing their hearts too.
You can help your community and neighbors this summer. Many families come to St. Vincent de Paul for help when a sudden and unexpected event throws their life off course. 12 News and Bashas’ are hosting a Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive through the month of June to help replenish SVdP’s food bank. Donate at your local Bashas’ and Food City or online now.
Special thanks to The Arizona Republ ic, azcentral.com, News-Talk 92.3 KTAR and Arizona Sports 620, 98.7 The Peak, Univision Radio and La Voz, who are supporting the drive as well!