It’s around 10am on a Wednesday. Sandy has been waiting in line for a local food distribution for half an hour. While she eagerly waits for her groceries, she has a smile on her face. “My name is Sandy, like candy,” she introduces herself.

Food has always been a part of Sandy’s life. Before she retired, she worked in a high school cafeteria. Now, when she’s able, she helps her daughter cater food for special events. According to her three children and three grandchildren, she is a terrific cook. Every meal Sandy prepares is flavorful, chock full of veggies and made with love.

Eating healthy is important to Sandy. Several of her family members struggled with their health as they got older, and Sandy wants to be around to see her grandchildren blossom into adults. Ten years ago, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, meaning a healthy diet is even more important for living a long and fulfilling life. But nutritious, fresh produce and groceries can be expensive, especially with rising food prices.

“Things are starting to get so expensive,” she says.

At 76 years old, Sandy lives on a fixed income, and groceries are difficult to afford. She lives alone in a mobile home community tailored for seniors and pays her own utilities. Because a new leasing company recently purchased her home, her rent will nearly double after her lease ends. Her already-stretched budget will be worn even thinner.

Sandy began visiting a food program in Stark County a few months ago when she realized she needed help. The food program gives Sandy access to nourishing groceries that help sustain her.

As tears well in her eyes, overcome with appreciation for everyone who supports the Foodbank and local hunger relief, Sandy says, “I am so thankful. So very grateful for everything — so very, very grateful.”

Sandy is one of thousands of seniors who find food security and bridge hardships every week with your support.