“I am a proud person. But pride gets in the way, and I’m finally learning to let go of that pride,” says Cynthia Milford. It’s a lesson the 50-year-old will never look back on. Putting aside her pride is what has allowed Cynthia to use her food shelf in Golden Valley off and on for the past two years.
She says she only goes when she really needs it, but lately she’s been in need of help more often, going to the food shelf about once a month since the beginning of the year. Cynthia moved back to Minnesota in 2007 after losing her job in Canada, and has yet to land a full-time job here. Various part-time and seasonal jobs have gotten her by for the most part, but sometimes they aren’t enough to pay all the bills and put groceries in her kitchen.
Cynthia was wary about going to a food shelf for help. She had used the food shelves in Canada while she lived there, and the experience left a bad taste in her mouth.
Hoping for something different she checked out her local food shelf two years ago. Thanks to the help of its dedicated volunteers, there are lots of healthy food options to choose from, and loads of fresh fruits and vegetables come in all the time.
Today Cynthia volunteers twice a week at her food shelf, and encourages people she sees come through to volunteer too. She also goes on “food dates” with her neighbor, a handicapped man who needs help getting to the food shelf. Both are just little ways Cynthia tries to give back.