Melissa WilliamsMay 2016
During the year her family was fed by a food pantry, Melissa Williams never knew they were in the midst of a crisis. When her father’s business failed the family was forced to live on her mother’s income. At the same time, a family friend and her 2 children found refuge from a bad situation in Melissa’s home.
“My parents stepped out in faith to help out their friend,” said Melissa, “and suddenly we were a household of 6! Without the food pantry, I don’t know what we would have done.”
Originally from New York, Melissa has moved a lot during her 9 years in the Air Force. But she first discovered a passion for feeding the hungry at The Master’s Table Soup Kitchen when the Air Force held a Day of Service on Thanksgiving Day. The experience was so powerful that when she began working nights, she dedicated her mornings to serving at the soup kitchen every day for 2 weeks.
Her work there brought back many childhood memories. “We used to have pancakes on Sunday morning, and then the pancakes went away when the new family moved in,” she remembers; “But I had no idea we were so close to the edge. The food pantry gave us room to breathe until things got better.”
Looking back, Melissa is grateful to her parents, the pantry, and her community for giving her a sense of security during that year of hardship. “I never knew we were poor,” she chuckled; “I had that stability in my childhood. Fear can destroy a child, but I didn’t have to deal with that because people in my community gave back.”
Nowadays, Melissa gives back to other families in need by volunteering her time at Golden Harvest Food Bank. In addition to serving at the Master’s Table, she has also worked sorting food at the Faith Food Factory and helping with administrative work. “Every time I leave, my face hurts because I smile so much. From the people working with me to the people I serve, it’s so uplifting” she says; “It’s only 2 hours of my day, but it colors the rest of my day.”
A big shout out to all of our awesome volunteers like Melissa –you help color this community a brighter shade of happy every day!