Stories of Change

Melanie’s Story

Melanie, of McKeesport, patiently waits in line at a drive-up distribution.

Melanie candidly shares that she has found herself in a situation she never anticipated: taking care of her husband as he suddenly readjusts to life with the diagnosis of Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

The diagnosis has forced many changes in their lives. Prior to his diagnosis, her husband was working, would get food from local pantries to help ends meet and they were saving to be able to buy a family car. The diagnosis changed those plans, but thankfully family was able to help.

“His family came through and let us have this car so I can get him to chemo and all his appointments, because that’s been a burden there coming up with all the co-payments and the prescriptions and all that. So, it’s really starting to really build up and take a toll.”

Melanie has now taken up the task of getting them the help they need.

“It’s stressful for him because he’s used to doing what he used to do. And then it makes him feel bad and gives him more depression. [I travel] from this Food Bank to another food pantry because our income has been cut because he can’t do what he used to do anymore. He was coming out to the food pantries and getting for his family and us too.”

Their diets have also had to change to protect his health.

“I love the vegetables. He’s got onset of diabetes from the pancreatic cancer because that’s messing with his insulin. So, the vegetables and the beans and all that other stuff that I can make meals with I appreciate, because he has to have a high protein diet now to build up his strength in his body. It’s a different way of living. Really, I appreciate anything, and then the dry milks… The dry milks come in handy. If you really get educated on how to cook with that stuff, you could do a lot [to] stretch that. And every little bit helps.”

Melanie notes her gratitude for the chance to receive the food necessary to take care of her husband through our distributions.

“God bless [the volunteers and donors]. They’re terrific. I mean, for people to come out here and do this kind of stuff when they don’t have to. Without these, I think a lot of people wouldn’t be eating and doing things. It’s a blessing. It’s beautiful. I love it.”

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