When you give to a food bank, pantry, or warehouse, the impact on the receiver lasts a lifetime. I know this because there was a point in my life when I was on the receiving end and I have never forgotten the generosity.

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I was chatting with a friend yesterday about our memories of growing up poor. We talked about the ways that our families found to stretch a dollar and patch things up to get some extra wear and time out of them. Then, we got on the subject of meals and how we vividly remember powdered milk, big blocks of waxy cheese, and cardboard containers of peanut butter with a thick top layer of oil that had to be stirred before it could be consumed. Neither my friend nor I have fond memories of those particular food items but we are both thankful that they were available to our families to aid in our nourishment.

I found myself thinking to particular times when a box of food would show up on the front porch of my house from our local food pantry, delivered by a kind soul who knew how hard off we were but that my parents were too humble to admit it to anyone. Those boxes were like Christmas morning. Getting a couple packages of saltine crackers or a can of tuna or a jug of milk, the real kind not powdered, was glorious. As we unpacked our food pantry box we would giggle and be so filled wit happiness over items found in most cupboards except for ours.

I am an adult now and while I don't live an extravagant life, my family is comfortable and can afford the groceries we want. However, sometimes I'll find myself holding a box of crackers in my hand and smile, remembering the times that we'd find them in our food pantry box, forever grateful for the person who donated them because a simple package of crackers brought so much happiness into my childhood home.

When you donate to a food warehouse, you're not just donating because it's the kind and human thing to do. You are providing nourishment to a fellow human and perhaps, giving them a bit of unexpected joy and trust me, your gesture is one that they'll never forget and one they will always be grateful for.

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