I will never forget how fortunate my two children and I were after we moved out of a difficult family situation in 1998. However, only two years later our future was suddenly bleak. Unemployed and without child support, I began volunteering at the Queenstown Community Center, which had helped keep my son fed and occupied after school. I survived for 18 months with no income, often going hungry for days so that I could give my children food.
The summer of 2002 opened new possibilities. I became a paid part-time intern for Queenstown. I was independent, able to feed my children and share my passion of educating, molding and nurturing young lives.
The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) was an integral part of the Center's program, supplying a weekend food bag to my children with nourishing food items, school supplies, winter hats and gloves, toiletries, and Christmas gifts under the Angel Tree program.
These were such a help when the budget was tight. I will never forget the look on my son's face when he opened his art case. At 13, he was overwhelmed. That small gesture helped shape him into a Dean's List graduate of the University of Maryland with a BSC in Aerospace Engineering, and then build his first plane. My daughter's experience at a CAFB summer camp as a participant, and later a camp counselor, kept her from hunger during her formative years. She graduated in 2011 as class valedictorian with a 4.39 GPA, and was awarded a four-year scholarship to the University of Maryland -- succeeding in spite of adverse circumstances.
It is by the dedication and financial contributions made to CAFB that lives can be changed and young people can flourish and succeed making the world a better place.