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For nearly half a century, Sandy worked as a school bus driver. Ten years ago, she started volunteering at her local food pantry in her spare time.

“I got to noticin’ that a lot of the people that were here, I saw [their] kids in the school bus. So I knew then there was need. Because how many of those kids went to school and everything without any — without a lunch?”

Sandy used her position as the school bus driver to give back to her community. One boy she drove made a particular impression on her. “He came from a poor family. Very poor… if he didn’t have clothes to wear, I made sure I bought him clothes. I made sure he had milk money.”

Now that boy is grown. He and his wife live on Sandy’s property in their RV. “I told him, well, you move your RV out here and you work around here, I’ll pay for your electricity.”

This arrangement didn’t come without rules. “I don’t allow alcohol on my property. I don’t allow drugs except prescription drugs. I don’t allow fussin’, fightin’, or cussin’... I’ll do anything in God’s creation for ya, but don’t do me wrong.”

Then, three years ago, Sandy was forced to retire after she and her sister were hit by a drunk driver. “My insurance ended up not paying [for my surgery], so we had to end up footing the bill for most of it. And [the accident] broke both [my sister’s] arms, and she had a stroke afterwards. So it’s been rough.”

After the accident and the high medical bills, Sandy and her sister, who lives with her, made use of the food pantry for the first time. “I know now what it’s like for a lot of these people that came up here in their wheelchairs and with all these disabilities. They can’t get out and go to the grocery store like they need to.”

“I mean, me and her know how to raise a garden and survive but it’s just the little extra things.”

Sandy uses her experience receiving food from the food pantry to convince her community members, including her own daughter and son-in-law, to come to the food pantry for help. “And now I’m getting to experience [what] it’s like… My daughter said the first time she came, she said, ‘It’s like a walk of shame.’ I said, ‘No it’s not.’ I said, ‘It’s like a walk of I-need-help-and-help’s-here. It’s not a walk of shame.’ She said, ‘Mama, you’ve never had to do this in your life.’ I said, ‘I learned how… Somebody’s here to give me a help up. To help me up out of this situation that I’m in. And then if you get help up out of the situation you’re in, come and help.’”

“My thing is, what kind of world would this be — and I know I'm soundin' melodramatic, but this is just me. What kinda world would this be if we didn't walk in God's steps? What would we be if we didn't walk in God's steps? Like he says, 'If you see none in front of you or behind you, I'm walking beside you, or I'm carrying you.' And it, that's what we gotta do. Sometimes we gotta pick people up and carry 'em before they can get back up on their feet to walk beside us. And that's the way I look at it.”