Marisa, 65, was laid off from her job right before the pandemic. She had worked all her life but suddenly found herself struggling to make ends meet. She worried about how she and her husband would pay their bills and buy groceries. 

"The bills were piling up, and I didn't know what to do," said Marisa. 

Then her husband had a stroke. Unfortunately, when she was laid off, Marisa and her husband lost their health insurance, so her husband's hospitalization costs came directly out-of-pocket. The medical bills and necessary medications quickly added up and strained their finances. An already challenging time in their lives became even more difficult. 

The two sought help from a food pantry in Holmes County. At first, Marisa was nervous about receiving free groceries. She had never visited a food program before and does not receive government food benefits, but the volunteers at the pantry made her feel comfortable and welcome. "It feels like a friend helping someone out." 

The money Marisa and her husband save on groceries goes toward medications, heat for their home, and gas and car payments. 

"This help basically saved our lives," Marisa said. "God bless you. Thank you very much. You've changed my world and made my life a little better."