With food from Harvesters, teen helps her family and her neighbors

Earlier this school year, the high school sophomore admits, she was embarrassed.

She was shy to come forward and say her family needed help. Her mom had been unemployed for a few months, and her dad had died the year before.She heard about how a Harvesters food truck comes to her school and helps families with food.

“At first I felt bad, but at the same time, it’s helping me,” says the 17-year-old, who goes to a high school in the metro area. She is not being identified to protect her privacy.

Her family — the teen, her mother and two brothers — began getting donated food from Harvesters earlier this school year. The potatoes and yogurt, cheese and fresh produce helped a lot.

It was crucial when her mom was out of work. Now, with her mom working — about three days a week — the pantry supplies still put meals on the table.

The food even helps the neighbors.

The teen’s mom recently noticed that the neighbor’s kids were wearing their jackets inside their home. After talking with their mother, she learned that the family’s gas had been turned off and they had no heat.

Now the girl’s family shares some of their food with the neighbors. A few times the kids have come over to say thank you.

“It feels good” to help others, she said.

And the embarrassment? It’s gone away, said the teen, who knows times will only get tougher because she is expecting a baby in February. “I get Harvesters food.

So what? I get pantry food. So what?

“... A lot of families out here are struggling. It’s just that a lot of people don’t know.”

To reach Laura Bauer, call 816-234-4944 or send email to lbauer@kcstar.com.