A client recently approached Laurie Purcell, NeighborImpact Food Bank Specialist, at St. Vincent de Paul (La Pine Food Pantry) and stated, “I need to thank NeighborImpact.” The client went on to explain that her husband is a long haul truck driver and they moved from the valley to Christmas Valley to be closer to family, and to purchase an affordable home with property for the kids to grow up on. Approximately six months after their relocation, their youngest son was diagnosed with a debilitating chronic disease. The mother had to quit her job to become the boy’s primary caretaker as that, in and of itself, had become a full-time job. The client and son found themselves commuting to Bend at least twice a week for doctors’ appointments. Their plan to raise their kids in a quiet, remote area felt like it had backfired on them. The strain of the gas bills, medical bills and one household income became too much for the five-person family. When the client began to search out emergency services, she found there was no food assistance in Christmas Valley; the closest pantry in Lake County was an hour away in the opposite direction of their semi-weekly commutes to Bend. The client heard through the grapevine how welcoming the food programs are in La Pine. So, on her way to Bend, she and her son stopped at STVdP in La Pine and received the food they so desperately needed. She was afraid to give the intake worker her address in fear she would be turned away. Jamie Smith, Food Bank Manager, told the client, “This is Deschutes County and NeighborImpact. We won’t turn you away.”

The client wrapped up her family’s personal story by telling Laurie, “If you (NeighborImpact) didn’t have the attitude you do, my family wouldn’t be able to eat.” She and her son still visit SVdP in La Pine and stop by La Pine Community Kitchen for a meal before heading to his doctors’ appointments. They could not be more grateful for the support.