Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry: Paying It Forward

National Headquarters  |  July 9, 2018

Deanna Arellanez- a young, confident, well-spoken mother of two- and her family attended a Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry distribution in San Bernardino, California and shared her story.

After going through personal hardship, Deanna and her family have been struggling to make ends meet. It’s a shared sentiment throughout the neighborhood: many individuals with jobs still find it hard to put food on the table.

“We have a lot of homeless people and especially children who don’t get to eat,” Deanna tells us.  “So, sometimes it’s my girlfriends and, a lot of times, it can even be the working class.”

Indeed, economic hardship affects a large and unseen portion of our population.  According to a 2016 report by the US Census Bureau, roughly 40.6 million Americans live in poverty.  That’s nearly 1 in every 12 people! And it includes families’ just like Deanna’s.

The Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry in Southern California works toward the goal of helping reduce poverty statistics through food distributions. We invite nearby, low-income families to our distributions and offer fresh fruits and vegetables (unlike many traditional pantries) as well as dry goods to create nutritious, wholesome, and filling meals.

Deanna reveals it means much more than a plate of food:

After going through personal hardship, Deanna and her family have been struggling to make ends meet. It’s a shared sentiment throughout the neighborhood: many individuals with jobs still find it hard to put food on the table.

“We have a lot of homeless people and especially children who don’t get to eat,” Deanna tells us.  “So, sometimes it’s my girlfriends and, a lot of times, it can even be the working class.”

Indeed, economic hardship affects a large and unseen portion of our population.  According to a 2016 report by the US Census Bureau, roughly 40.6 million Americans live in poverty.  That’s nearly 1 in every 12 people! And it includes families’ just like Deanna’s.

“…it’s important for the kids to know that whatever struggle it is we go through, that we can put something into our body to make us stronger- stronger physically and mentally- to take us to that next level.”

Deanna Arellanez, Care Recipient

This way, the Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry provides necessary resources to these families so they can better allocate their time.

We couldn’t be more moved by how Deanna paid it all forward: she shared the meal she cooked- with the very ingredients she got from the Tzu Chi Mobile Food Pantry- with an elderly neighbor in need! She told us, “our neighbor gentleman doesn’t qualify for those types of benefits… so, you fall in a gap, and you’re hungry.”

With her daughters proudly delivering their neighbor a plate from their home, it’s wonderful to see an entire family embody the spirit of giving and compassion, even when they have little to give themselves.  We’re proud to have met Deanna, who reminds us just how important it is to pass a bit of goodness on no matter what.

 

Do your part, too, and help us fight food insecurity.

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