Sitting in the bright community room of the Arlington Memorial Baptist Church, Kelly Doolittle is sharing her story. Kelly has been a traveling minister for 18 years, and is supporting her family of four. Her husband is a landscaper, and after working for 21 years, he lost his job in August.
Kelly smiles, then pauses, and slowly puts her hand over her heart and says, “I’m on my second pace maker. I’ve had four heart attacks, and each month, have to find a way to pay $243 for the pace maker because we don’t have health insurance. I’ve also had 3 bouts of cancer.”
As Kelly continues, her hand stays on her heart, and she talks about how special the Arlington Memorial Baptist Church’s food pantry is to her family.
“I’ve only had to come to the pantry three times, and oh it’s phenomenal.” Kelly affirmed. “Of all the items at the food pantry, the fresh produce is my favorite. I take the produce home and freeze it, which helps us get through the month.”
Kelly also shared the joy she feels when her cupboards are filled. “Just being able to go in my kitchen and have more than one thing to cook for dinner is amazing,” Kelly lovingly said. “Some people don’t realize how small things can mean so much.”
The Arlington Memorial Baptist Church is a member of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. On this day, the church received fresh produce like apples, potatoes and lettuce along with other essential grocery items from the Foodbank to distribute to those struggling with hunger in Summit County, like Kelly.
Because Kelly is receiving food from the pantry today, her family may not have to choose between bills and buying groceries this month. The joy of a full cupboard and the satisfaction of knowing her family will be fed this month gives Kelly so much more than food— it gives her hope.