Friday, November 22, 2013

52 Stories, 52 Weeks: 'I never expected to be in this situation'

Kerryn Slawson, 50, has been receiving food at Moraine Valley Community Church for nearly a year.
Not long ago, Kerryn Slawson was making $100,000 per year at a job in transportation.

“I was always the person that people came to for food,” she said. “My friends, family, would say, ‘I need some help, do you have anything to spare?’ And I’d give them plenty.”

About a year ago, Kerryn lost her job. And, she was recently given custody of her sister’s seven and 11-year-old daughters, after their mother passed away. Now, Kerryn, 50, struggles to feed her own three sons, and her sister’s children. So, she gets food assistance twice a month from the Moraine Valley Community Church food pantry, a Greater Chicago Food Depository member agency in Palos Hills.

“I never expected to be in this situation,” Kerryn said. “But you’ve got to deal with it somehow. This food helps me do that.”

She receives fresh produce, nonperishable items, and meat at the pantry.

“The pantry has been just awesome,” she said. “I’d starve if it meant the kids could eat, but with the pantry I don’t have to do that.”

Kerryn is working assorted jobs while she looks for full-time employment.

“I need a full-time job really badly. Anything helps, but it’s just that no one is hiring right now,” she said.

On a recent Thursday, Kerryn was just one of nearly 30 people waiting in line outside the food pantry before it opened. In October, the pantry served nearly 600 people, a record for the 13-year-old agency.

“There are so many working poor,” said pantry coordinator Beth Heinrich. “Some of the people we see have two or three jobs but still have trouble.”

Help the Food Depository provide meals for the 1 in 6 who are hungry in Cook County. Donate now!

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