David Broughton, Haven Totes Treasurer, and I, Karen Stewart, Haven Totes President, will be doing the Haven Totes Blog a couple times a month. We have been on the front line from the beginning. We started this Food Pantry in January 2019 for our Haven Totes Families. We are two of the few who are still on the front lines rescuing food and opening the Food Pantry weekly. We get to hear the stories and understand the needs of our Families. We also are privileged to get to know the people in those grocery stores that we rescue from. They too have stories and needs to share with us. What an honor and blessing that the Lord has given us. We are all volunteers which gives a very unique perspective to this wonderful opportunity we have to make a difference in our families lives and in our Community. We want to thank everyone who has helped us out in so many ways like praying for us so we can continue to do what we do and giving us goods and money so we can continue to do what we do.
As time goes on, we will share more with you about our program, all the different things we do and who we all are. In the picture we are sharing with you is Dave and me in our Haven Tote Pantry. We invite you in the near future, when of course the Community gets to our New Normal, to come see us. We also invite you to reach out to us. We love what we do and we love to talk about it.
Now, Dave and I will share one of our favorite stories with you. Thank you for taking the time to connect with us and Haven Totes.
Karen’s Story
It is hard for me to pick out just one story because I have so many that have touched my heart. I cried over this experience and continue to cry over it. I personally was wrestling so hard with the fact we were rescuing more and adding more stores to rescue from because we could not get the items, I felt we needed for our families. We could not get the items we were used to getting, especially meat and dairy items. I knew our families had many needs and we were now having new families coming to our Pantry because of their needs. I could not buy in bulk and I could not get the food we needed. I was in a state about this of not knowing and uncertainty which was new for me. What could we do? I stated to Dave we needed to give them a gift card even though $5.00 was all we at Fountain of Life could do out of our funds. So, I ran down right then before our Pantry and got all these gifts cards. I was explaining to everyone when they came in how bad I felt but hopefully this $5 would help some. There was this new family member that came in that night and went through our Pantry. She came back crying so and thanking us for what we had done for her and her family. It was more than enough. She had no idea she would get what she did. I cried then and still do to realize what we do even though I don’t feel it is enough is a big help and is helping them and making a difference for them. What a joyful cry I have now.

David’s Story
As Karen said there are many stories of people I have met through Haven Totes although what strikes me the most are the ages of those we serve. Not the children, but rather those that we meet in our pantry. For example, I recently learned that one of our family members that regularly picks up food is over eighty (80) years old. She has lived her entire life with children and/or grandchildren in her home. On the other end of the spectrum we have a young lady that is the care giver for her grandma and takes care of her siblings. She is still in high school and yet has the responsibility of caring for multiple people. I have witnessed her as she deals with her siblings and she is so kind and peaceful with them. The maturity she shows at her young age is admirable to say the least. You may ask why I chose to write about this; it is simple, we have the opportunity to witness people in need in ALL age groups. Before volunteering with Haven Totes I could never have imagined the age span of those that come into our pantry and share their lives and stories with us. Heartwarming does not even begin to completely state how it feels. What an awesome experience it is and a blessing to us as we get to know our families.

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