Gladys is a retired business owner hasn’t retired. She had her own sewing business in Louisiana, raised four kids, and sometimes worked two to three additional jobs. Now Gladys is a gardener, a crafter, and cares for five rescue dogs. “I stay busy constantly,” she says. “Once you stop and you sit, you usually don’t move again.”
Gladys is also a new employee at the center where she has been volunteering for three years. Her first experience with the pantry was as a client. When she saw that the organization needed help, she offered to volunteer. Her experience as both a client and volunteer allows her to see both sides of the story so she (and the center) can help clients feel welcome.
Gladys uses her own experiences to assure new clients that there is no shame in receiving help. Gladys receives a CSFP box, shops once a month at the New Braunfels Food Bank, and receives $15 a month in SNAP.
The cooking classes and the variety of options at the pantry have helped Gladys try new foods. Because she wouldn’t spend money on things if she wasn’t sure if she liked them, seeing how to cook new foods has helped expand her pallet. “[The center] helps tremendously. Because I see what the people get and… it gives you an opportunity to try new things. That’s what I love.”
If she could speak to someone thinking about coming to the center or to New Braunfels Food Bank to receive food assistance, Gladys would say, “Fear is a liar. Fear stops people from– I don’t want them to fear anything. Go gung-ho into it and if you fail, you at least gave it a shot.”