Ebony Veal and her four-year-old son, Alex, are visiting the food pantry at Pregnancy Care of Summit County, a member agency of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Ebony is nine months pregnant, and has chosen several items from the pantry, including frozen meat and fresh vegetables.
“We’ve been homeless,” explains Ebony shyly. “I was living in a big house when my son’s father left us. I tried keeping up with the bills by myself, but things slowly got cut off.”
Faced with the choice of paying her bills or buying groceries, Ebony doesn’t always know how she will feed her son, or where her next meal will come from.
“I might be able to provide a meal, but what about the next one?” Ebony says. “I never wanted my son to see me struggle. It’s hard out there, and if it wasn’t for food pantries I literally don’t know what I would do. I am striving to make my kid's life better, to make my life better, to become a better me.”
Just before leaving the pantry, little Alex takes one more walk around the aisles with a shopping cart just his size. Grinning, he looks at his mom then reaches down to a lower shelf and picks up a small box of fruit snacks to put in his cart. Shannon Collins, Special Events Coordinator of Pregnancy Care, hugs Ebony tightly and says, “You are already a better you, and I am truly proud of you.”