"We never get to eat bananas," the six-year old commented, looking longingly at the 29 skins discarded along the pathway the children had been using.
His mother held one banana saved for her husband, who was sick. A fleeting smile slid across her face as the children checked once again, that there were no more hiding among the bags of school clothes they had carried in to the house, from the volunteer's car.
"Let's see what fits," the mother suggested, and the fashion parade began.
As each child modelled a different outfit, the volunteer made herself a note, " Needs regular food delivery - add to list." That was a critical turning point for the family.
Today, ten years later, the three youngest of those seven children are now in jumior high, or high school school. The four oldest have all graduated. Three of those four have gone on to a Community College, where one became a star football player and hopes to transfer to a university. The youngest of the four received a scholarship because of her excellent grades at high school, and is already doing well at university.
The list is still in effect, changing from time to time as a family gains more work hours, or another runs into a major difficulty. As one of its activities, every month the Network now delivers up to 2,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables on each of eight days, to the homes of the most needy of our families. Each family on the list receives two deliveries per month, with particular ethnic groups targeted on each day. This allows us to collect food that is acceptable to each group and to introduce new foods from time to time. It also allows us to add eggs and milk and provide household necessities; or to look at letters that need translating; or set up appointments those letters require, and provide transport and translation. This is often among the earliest steps towards self-sufficiency.
Your donations keep our truck on the road, and provide more of our most needy families with nutritious food. Together we are building more healthy refugee families and more children alert and ready to learn.