Not long ago, Jody was an extreme couponer who used to purchase and donate thousands of pounds of food each year to St. John’s The Lord’s Pantry, a Philabundance agency, but now is in need assistance herself.
“We’re all just one bill, accident or unforeseen circumstance away from needing help,” explained Jody while sitting in the waiting area of the pantry with her daughter, Cheyanne.
Jody has been attending the St. John’s The Lord’s Pantry since July of 2017, following her separation from her husband. She maintained a seasonal job for some time, but then another tragedy struck: her mother grew gravely ill. Jody began taking care of her mother full-time and cannot work.
Before falling on hard times, Jody and her family were avid donors thanks to her extreme couponing.
“I’d walk into a store and fill up one or two carts with food, toiletries and other supplies and only pay about $5-10 for it all,” said Jody with a smile. “I would set aside food and things for my family and donate tons to the pantry and to those in need.”
We’re all just one bill, accident or unforeseen circumstance away from needing help
Cheyanne explained that going from donor to recipient was difficult for her mom, but that Jody is determined to get back on her feet, start couponing again and give back to the pantry, Philabundance and the community. Jody even dreams of opening her own food pantry at a college, as she once worked at a school and witnessed the growing problem of college hunger.
“When I worked at a college I saw students sneak their peers into the dining halls and struggle to afford food and it broke my heart. Going hungry caused depression and slipping grades; it was a vicious cycle. I want to open an on-campus pantry and help students along their college journey. One day I’ll get there,” said Jody.
From donor to recipient, Jody has lived life on both ends of the spectrum. Jody now has a greater understanding of the impact her donations made in the past and has a message for current donors:
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without people donating and helping others when they need it most, I don’t know where we would be. Your generosity helps feed my family.”