This is one of a series of stories about the 15 nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
When Peter and his wife retired, they had what they thought would be a good amount of money to survive.
But their son was struggling and they took on the care of five of their grandchildren. And suddenly they found themselves needing help.
“Our retirement wouldn’t carry,” said Peter, whose real name is not being used to protect the family’s privacy.
He knew of different food pantries in the area — and had always donated to them — but he had never needed assistance until now. He said they were helpful and talked to he and his wife about options for help.
The family became recipients of the backpack program through Care and Share that provides meals over weekends to children who may need it. He said the packs are filled with supplies to help nourish all of his grandchildren, and that they have been using them for about a year and a half.
“It has made it easier because there is no way we could have fed and clothed (our grandchildren), and heated the house on just our retirement,” he said.
They weren’t expecting to take in their grandchildren, and Peter said he hopes the childrens’ father gets back on his feet so he can rebuild his family.
In the meantime, the food backpacks have been crucial for Peter, his wife and his grandchildren. Peter said that something like this is so important in a community.
“I think it has made a difference for a lot of people, not just us.”