For Mary Eagles, “it was hard to ask for help. I was used to helping.”
Mary worked in pediatrics, orthopedics, and oncology during her 20-year nursing career, but lung and heart disease diagnoses made it impossible to continue. “I loved it. I miss nursing,” she said.
She still needed income, so she found a job at a grocery store, but the pay wasn’t as good and sometimes her hours would get cut or she’d get sick.
When she didn’t have much money, she’d resort to eating whatever she had in her pantry. “I try to be careful, but when all you can get is certain (unhealthy) foods, you’re stuck with it,” she said.
She never thought she’d need the services of a food pantry like the Ephesus Food Pantry in Richmond, Virginia, but “when I ran into difficulties, they were here, and they’ve been here for me ever since.”
The pantry, which works with the Feed More food bank, a member of the Feeding America network, offers fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, which help Eagles, now 73, stay healthy.
The pantry staff has gotten to know her since she began coming once a month three years ago. By taking care of her, they remind her of the power of helping others.
“They’re like nurses,” she said.