Last week we celebrated a huge achievement for Open Arms: the delivery of our 5 millionth meal!
And that milestone meal couldn’t have gone to a sweeter family. Erica, a teacher at a Bloomington school, was diagnosed with uterine cancer earlier this year.
When Erica was first diagnosed, her students and their parents rallied around their family, starting a food tree to keep them well fed, but when summer break arrived it wasn’t as convenient and Erica didn’t want to be a burden.
But it was difficult for her to cook for her three sons when she felt her worst. “I was too weak and too sick to provide meals for them,” Erica shared.
“Trying to turn off the Wonder Mom switch is hard to do. It never really goes away, but when you’re sick…it takes a toll on you. Simple, daily things aren’t simple anymore.”
But right when things were at their most difficult, Erica found Open Arms. On-staff dietitian Brianna set up gluten-free meals for Erica and her three sons Marco, Luke and David, and regular meals for Erica’s husband, all from our Latino-focused menu.
Now every Thursday a volunteer from C.H. Robinson, a satellite delivery partner, brings five sets of meals to the family’s home so that their kitchen is stocked for the week.
Thanks to the nutritious food that volunteers deliver each week, Erica has one less thing to worry about. She takes comfort in the fact that her growing, soccer-playing sons can just head to the fridge, freezer or cupboard for healthy food when they’re hungry.
“It’s a big burden off of me to know that my boys are taken care of,” Erica said. “We can put our energy into other things we need to focus on during this challenging time for us.”
“I’m picky,” declared 11-year-old David, Erica’s youngest son. He told us he would happily just eat pizza all the time. But David knows that there are always tasty meals in the fridge. He’s taken a particular liking to the yuca potatoes that come in some of the family’s Latino meals. 16-year-old Marco loves the fish entrees, like roasted garlic cod.
“Open Arms has helped our family be normal and have consistency,” Erica said. “When you’re dealing with a serious illness, all you want is some normalcy…that’s what kids need.”
You want to know something amazing? Every one of Open Arms’ 5 million meals was given completely free of charge to someone in need like Erica. We have never charged our clients for this important service – and that’s been possible due to people like you.
“It’s incredible to think that Open Arms has delivered 5 million meals,” Erica said. “They are providing hope and stability to families like ours.”
By donating to Open Arms this holiday season, you can support families like Erica’s through their most difficult times. Make a year-end gift to support delicious meals for neighbors like Erica>>