In early 2014, *Sharon became mysteriously ill with stomach and digestive issues. Despite numerous visits to the doctor, they couldn’t figure out what was making her so weak and sick. The illness robbed her of energy, and she could barely stand.
After battling with the illness for months, Sharon made the difficult decision that summer to take early retirement from her part-time position at a local college. Just before she got sick, her husband resigned from his job of 15 years to start his own business. But the business wasn’t going well.
“Then the bottom fell out from under us,” Sharon said. Without a backup plan or money in savings, the couple in their 50s found themselves in need and without money to purchase groceries.
A woman of faith, Sharon reached out to her church for help. The church then put Sharon and her husband in touch with Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” Sharon said. “I felt humiliated, because I thought, ‘hey, we are in our 50s we shouldn’t have let this happen.’”
Sharon was shown compassion and kindness from the pastor at her church. Then, from the moment she walked through the doors at CVCCS, Sharon said he felt welcomed and overwhelmed by the compassion the volunteers and staff displayed.
“I didn’t think I was going to have the strength to walk or push the shopping cart,” Sharon said. “Everyone was so helpful and assisted me during each visit. The volunteers would share with me their own stories of needing the food bank at one time in their lives. That lifted me; I didn’t feel so alone. I’ve never been through an experience like this before.”
Sharon said she was amazed by the selection of food that was available and that her husband was astonished by the amount of canned food, dairy, produce, meat, and even laundry detergent she would bring home.
“The abundance of what CVCCS offers was so overwhelming, from the meal boxes at the holidays and extra things people would donate to the food bank, the bakery items, just going down the aisles of food – was like going to a grocery store. It meant so much to us to receive those items because there was no way we could have afforded to purchase them on our own.
“It felt like the verse in Isiah 55:1, Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! And I was like, wow, that’s what I am doing! Everything they offer is amazing.”
The couple would continue utilizing the services of the CVCCS food bank throughout 2015 and 2016 when her husband became deathly ill with pneumonia while on business in another state. She was too sick to travel to see him, but through God’s grace, he got better and regained his health.
Today, Sharon is concentrating on her improving health. Her husband folded the business and now has a steady job with a local retirement community. With a stable income, the couple supports themselves financially and returning the blessings to CVCCS by sending in a donation every month.
“I truly don’t know what we would have done without the food bank,’ Sharon said. “We are so grateful to CVCCS.”