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Donna Ricker

Thankful for all they have

Thankful for all they have

Donna Ricker has been the primary caregiver for her daughter, Jodahna, who is stricken with spastic cerebral palsy, for nearly four decades. For assistance through years of difficult times, the two have utilized the Great Plains Food Bank partner agency network for help. And they remained thankful for all that they have to this day.

For thirty-eight years, Donna Ricker has been the primary caregiver for her daughter.

Jodahna Deserly has spastic cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair and recently lost her eyesight. Donna helps her daughter dress, lifts her into the wheelchair and drives her to medical appointments.

Donna, 69, also makes sure there’s enough food for the two to eat.

When Jodahna was younger, Donna tried to work. But she struggled to find capable, responsible caregivers for her daughter. That made it difficult for Donna to secure full-time employment.

The mother-daughter team eventually relied on Jodahna’s disability payments to cover expenses like rent and transportation.

The two recently moved from Montana to the Devils Lake, North Dakota, area to be closer to other family members. Donna was diagnosed with osteoporosis and can no longer provide the physical care that Jodahna needs. Jodahna will move into a group home this fall.

“We are a humble family,” says Donna. “We appreciate and thank God for what we get.”

Recently, the two stopped at Hope Center in Devils Lake on their way to medical appointments. Jodahna stayed in the van because her wheelchair was too heavy for Donna to unload without help.

While Jodahna waited, Donna filled her cart with fruits, vegetables, macaroni, juices and some baked goods.

“It’s so nice to be able to ‘shop,’” she says. In visits to other food pantries, Donna received a box and couldn’t choose items. At Hope Center, clients can choose some groceries.

“It gives us an opportunity for variety,” Donna says.

Without the food pantry, Donna and Jodahna wouldn’t starve. But Donna is certain she would have to find a job or two to meet those expenses. At age 69 and faced with her own failing health, Donna doesn’t know what her options would be.

“You can’t afford a lot of food at the prices today,” she says.


© Great Plains Food Bank 2021