Helping The Caregiver


Helping the CaregiverJoann spent her whole professional career caring for others. First as a Certified Nursing Assistant, then as an in-home hospice care provider, and finally as a cook at a nursing home. Ten years ago she was forced to retire due to diabetes-related health complications. According to Joann, “One day I was working, the next day I wasn’t.” But even in retirement caring for others is still in her blood.

When Joann’s grandson was three, she took him in to her home to raise him. 15 years later he’s ready to graduate high school and move on to the next stage in life. While she’s proud of her grandson, she ponders what life will be like when he’s gone, “I’m going to be all by myself,” she laments.

Raising her grandson was difficult after she was forced to retire. While the jobs she held during her career provided the satisfaction of helping others, they didn’t provide much of a nest egg to count on in retirement. In fact, ever since she retired her only source of income is her social security/disability.

“I never thought I’d be in this position. I always thought I’d be doing good. It just didn’t work out that way.”

To help make ends meet, Joann counts on the school food pantry located in the Sparta Meadowview Middle School.

“You wouldn’t believe how much this helps. This little bit, and sometimes a lot that we get out here really helps go through the month for food. It’s a real blessing to have this. I don’t know what I would do without it.”
Before the school pantry opened Joann would simply go without to make sure her grandson had enough food.

“I always made sure my grandson had food. If I didn’t, I didn’t. He would always wonder why grandma was not eating like he’s eating. I would say that I had stuff before. You just talk your way around it. It makes me feel good because I can make decent meals for my grandson.”

Thanks to our donors, Second Harvest Foodbank is supporting three school pantries currently, with another five planned to open by the end of the year. Additionally, Second Harvest is working with several organizations in the Madison area to support school pantries in a number of schools in the Madison school district.

To those donors who support the school pantry initiative, Joann would say, “I would thank them for all they do. I appreciate all they do.”


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