This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
In 2011, Ray was working as an information technician on satellite dishes, making house calls in eastern Colorado, when injuries he sustained in the military 30 years earlier came back to haunt him.
Ray, whose full name is not being used to protect his privacy, soon found himself unable to work and struggling to feed his family, including a 12-year-old daughter. Two months later, he reluctantly took the advice of a friend who told him about the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado and visited a distribution site near Colorado Springs.
That advice became invaluable.
"Without Care and Share we would be real low on groceries and we wouldn't want our daughter to go without eating," said Ray, 48. "As a disabled veteran, I'm fighting for one hundred percent. I have enough to live off of, but I don't always have enough for food."
Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado is a non-profit that distributes food to the hungry - 17,623,945 pounds of it during the 2011-2012 fiscal year - and assists in health initiatives for children, the elderly and the chronically ill.
"It's just frustrating for me," Ray said. "I can't afford to supply my family's needs."
Now, Ray and his family travel about 12 miles west from their home in Peyton every other week to fill two shopping bags with food - most of it canned - to help fill his family's stomachs.
At first, accepting help wasn't so easy, but the Care and Share staff made Ray's difficult process much easier.
"The people we work with, they make us feel like it's not a bad thing," Ray said of not being always able to provide enough food for his family. "Everybody falls onto hard times."