"In 2007, I was forced off my job and lost my primary source of income. I never in a million years imagined this would happen. I was in shock. I applied for food stamps but only received benefits for one month. I swallowed my pride and visited my local food pantry. It was a degrading experience. A volunteer recognized me and inquired about what happened to my "big fancy job." I broke down and cried. That day and vowed I'd rather starve than return. Broken and facing foreclosure, I still needed food.
A year earlier I founded New Community Counseling and Ministries, (NCCM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, in order to provide sliding-scale Christian Counseling. Given my predicament, (hungry) I decided that now might be a good time to branch out and add a food program to the services already provided by New Community. I intentionally sought to design a program that would encourage and empower people who received assistance and that rewarded positive participation. I also sincerely wanted to help others: wards of the state, veterans, people with disabilities, single parents, seniors and people living below the poverty level.
After seeing the cans and cans of potatoes and peaches that were sitting unused in the cabinets of people I assisted through NCCM, and, knowing how much I disliked canned food, I applied for food donations from Whole Foods and was thrilled to hear that our application was approved. I've personally grown through the experience of running a food bank and have learned some hard lessons. Today, Food Thing Network is a unique, empowering, low budget, sustainable, healthy food bank and is a viable alternative to traditional food banks. We provide healthy, mostly organic food for hundreds of people, once a week, throughout the year. We are ourselves a family of sorts. As the founder, I am proud to belong to such a caring family."
Christine Caridi - Founder and CEO