r By Ashley Thomas
Kate my oldest daughter who turned five year’s old in January celebrated her birthday month by giving back to our community. I contacted Tabitha’s Way in Spanish Fork our local food pantry and they told me they needed breakfast cereal.
Tabitha’s Way has a mission to create no hunger zones in our community. People who are in need can go shopping at their pantry and pick up food and other essential items completely free of charge. Tabitha’s Way believes that no one should be food insecure.
The reason I share Kate’s fundraiser story is to raise awareness that there is food insecurity in our neighborhoods and we can all help by first having the knowledge that this is a real problem. There are people in our community that are hungry.
A week after Kate’s actual birthday she went shopping with me to our local Walmart and picked out four different boxes of cereal to give to Tabitha’s Way. She took her time looking at each box and slowly picked her first choice which was Raisin Bran Crunch.
The next day Kate stayed home and played with her little sister. I headed to our local Walmart in Spanish Fork to do a cereal fundraiser for Tabitha’s Way in honor of Kate’s birthday with my mom and sister supporting me in my efforts. The people of Spanish Fork, and I’m sure some of these people were from other cities in Utah County, were unbelievably generous. These people bought several boxes and bags of cereal for those in need. My sister was the first person to buy three boxes of cereal and put them in the Tabitha’s Way fundraiser bins we had set up in front of the store. She knows financial struggles well as she has gone through many difficulties in her life.
This day just kept getting better as people in our community got their children involved and young kids were bringing cereal out to donate that they had bought from the Walmart. I had several people say I don’t have time to buy cereal but here’s some cash. I handed the cash to my mom and sister who headed inside to shop for cereal. The generosity in our community was astounding to me and it’s something I will never forget.
I had two Walmart employees ask me, “How long will you be out here?” They wanted to make sure they could donate something before I left. Two of these Walmart employees came out on their breaks—one with a box of cereal and the other came out with muffin mixes. I had one man tell me he picked out three of his favorite boxes of cereal to give to those in need. He had picked out: Lucky Charms, Life and Honey Nut Cheerios. The people that donated and who bought cereal this day did so willingly, happily and most of all very thoughtfully.
Seeing our community come together as a whole and care about others experiencing food insecurity was amazing. This is a cause and an endeavor that cannot be conquered by one person. It takes many caring hands and hearts to make the biggest difference. Each year in January we plan to continue to give back to others in Kate’s name and it’s fitting because her middle name is Hope. When the world says, “give up,” hope whispers, “try one more time.”
It is our hope that the efforts and generosity of this giving community are felt by those experiencing difficult times. And Lastly, that we will all continue to find ways to help and give to those experiencing food insecurity.