My mom was handing me our last can of creamed corn in her hand to donate to our school food drive. What I didn’t realize in the moments that would soon follow, that my attitude about giving would forever change.
I’m from a large family with seven siblings. When I was eight years old, just one year after my twin brother and sister were born, my father was in a motorcycle accident and passed away. We had no insurance and no matter how many hours my mom worked, we were always struggling financially. Food stamps were a particular nightmare for me, as we stood in the checkout line at the grocery store. It was a hard time for our family, to say the least.
It was closing in on Thanksgiving and our school was doing a big food drive. Our family was down to our last few cans of food at home but I wanted to be a part of this. I begged my mom to take a can to donate. I remember her taking the last few cans off the shelf and giving one to each of us kids to take to school. Mine was creamed corn. I loved cream corn. I can still remember how proud I felt to be bringing in something I could give. I had no idea that my mom was home crying.
Thanksgiving break started the following day and I was so excited. I knew there wasn’t going to be the usual feast but I was looking forward to all of us being home together. It seemed like we were always waiting for my mom to get home from work.
Thursday morning, there was a knock on the door and when I ran to open the door, there was my teacher and other familiar faces from school behind her. I didn’t understand at first what was happening but I slowly realized that they were there to bring the entire food drive donations to us! I’ll never forget looking up at my mom’s face, tears of gratitude streaming down, as she unpacked bag after bag of food, from cans of pumpkin and cranberry sauce to loaves of bread and two whole turkeys. And yes, even my can of creamed corn.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much that meant to our family that year. There are times in many people’s lives when the unexpected happens. It is magic when the community pulls together to help those in need. You never know what it might mean to someone!