Jenae Bowen patiently waited in line outside the Epworth United Methodist Church in Valley City while holding her 11-month-old son, Erick. The line of cars filled the majority of the parking lot outside the Valley City State University football stadium waiting to enter the church parking lot. The need for food assistance in Valley City and surrounding communities was quickly evident.
As it does every few months, the Great Plains Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry made a stop in Valley City to help feed those in need. Just like Jenae, many rely on the Mobile Food Pantry to keep their families fed.
While most remained in their vehicles as they drove through the Mobile Food Pantry distribution, Jenae and Erik attended this June afternoon on foot. She hopes the next time will be different.
Jenae is now a stay-at-home mom. With the expense of childcare creating too much of a financial burden, Jenae and her husband made the decision that she should leave her job as an assistant store manager at Hobby Lobby and stay home with their newborn son. Jenae’s husband works as a boiler operator at Valley City State University.
With a single income and the arrival of their first child, the family experienced a setback when Erick needed medical treatment for issues with his eyes.
“We just have a ton of medical bills,” Jenae said with the shake of her head.
Shortly after he was born, Erick needed to have eye surgery and is now in need of a contact and glasses. The family is doing what they can to become financially stable.
They found the Mobile Food Pantry, which Jenae says have now attend three or four times, creates a supplement when they don’t have enough money for food.
“With this and a paycheck we are able to get by,” she said about what the Mobile Food Pantry can provide for the family.
While their family may have struggles at this time, she is optimistic they will soon be able to start giving back.
“I’m very thankful to anyone that donates so people like me and people in worse situations are able to come and get food,” she said. “And when we get in a better situation, we will be able to help out as well.”