Site: MidOhio Foodbank- Kroger Food Pantry
Address- 3960 Brookham Dr, Grove City, OH 43123
Phone number- (614) 317-9482
Site contact name- Rebecca Peacock-Creagh
Role- Pantry Assistant
Email address-
Date/time Served- 2/21/2019 10:00am to 1:00 pm
From 1000 to 1100 I was in charge of the produce section, making sure the families shopping was only taking what they were allowed, which was one plastic grocery bag filled with whatever they wanted. If it went in the bag they could take however much or however little of whatever they could fit. I also kept the flow of traffic going, keeping carts out of the way to make sure everyone got through in a timely manner, and directing the people who were limited to fruits and breads where they should go as they were not allowed past a certain point.
There were many children there, toddler/ early childhood years. I love children, so I tried to talk to as many as I could and I was immensely surprised at the level of self-consciousness and self-understanding (166) they had. There was one little girl who was turning 4 in a couple days and I was talking to her about her favorite foods and how she loved to eat brownie batter but she would always stop herself from eating too much of it because it would give her a tummy ache, there was another girl I overheard talking to her mom, she was little older, probably about 8 or 9 and she was saying how she was worried her friends were going to see her there at the food pantry. From a glance I saw her mom had tears in her eyes. It’s horrible a 9-year-old worries about what her friends think about where she gets her food.
Overall, I really enjoyed volunteering here, I saw a very different side of things, and I was put into a very different environment. I was very impressed with how much everyone was able to take and how many people were helped all in a few hours time. The little girl talking to her mom about her friends really broke my heart, I wish I could tell her that there’s a chance they wouldn’t even know going to food pantry means, but if they did then if they were really her friends they wouldn’t care that she got her food for free, they would just be happy she’s alive, and healthy.
From 1100 to 1200 I was doing the same thing, keeping the traffic going, handing out bags, talking to people, explaining the rules and all that good stuff.
One thing I noticed was that there was a lot more women and children there than there were men. When there was a man they were usually with their wife/girlfriend. One thing that I remember sticking out to me was I saw no single men with children there. It got me thinking about gender roles (172) , and if there were so few men because they were too prideful to attend or if maybe there’s some weird expectation in their minds that it’s the woman’s job to grocery shop, though I really like to think it’s because they’re at work, making the money to provide as best they can and are really just not able to help their wife/girlfriend out. Another I was hoping for was that the women with children weren’t abandoned by their baby’s father.
There was one shopper I really enjoyed talking too, she definitely changed my experience there. She had just recently went into remission for breast cancer and I was telling her how my grandmother had passed away from lung cancer years ago, and how hard chemo and radiation was on her body and how I couldn’t imagine going through all that. She said it was really rough, the vomiting and hair loss were the worst for her. She said she could deal with the cancer diagnosis but the hair loss was what really took a piece of her as it made her unable to recognize herself. I was confused at first but after I started thinking about it it started to make sense. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with cancer, but I feel like the hair loss would just make it so much more real. It would externalize the diagnosis, paint it in front of everyone’s eyes for the world to see, and I don’t know how someone deals with something like that.
From 1200 to 100 I was finishing up the morning’s round of shoppers, setting up new bag grabbing station, putting out and replenishing the produce section, and still directing shoppers around the store.
Without the help of food pantries I have no doubt there would be infants, children, and families suffering from malnutrition (142). With better nutrition in the early years children will have better skeletal growth, they will be less susceptible to disease and illnesses, less at risk for obesity later in life, have a more positive outlook on their body image which leads to better mental and emotional states, and better cognitive development. All of which are important to lead a successful, healthy life. When families have access to good nutrition the children can see what eating healthy foods is like as their parents are modeling it for them. This also leads to happy, healthier parents who will also be less at risk in developing serious, life-threatening diseases which leads to them being able to see their children grow up, get married, and have kids of their own.
Lots of people would be without much needed resources if the foodbank did not exist, I was amazed at how much each person got, and a little jealous which made me feel ashamed. Everybody got a whole palate of strawberries, plums, and big bag of grapefruit, not to mention the vegetables, dry goods, chicken, it was amazing. I’m very happy an organization like this exists, there would be a lot more hungry people in the city if it didn’t.