Bridging Gaps: Christie’s Journey

By Published On: June 8th, 2024


Christie’s journey epitomizes resilience, empowerment, and the transformative impact of community support systems. Born into deep poverty, Christie’s early life was defined by constant struggle and instability. By the age of 7, she had moved 19 times.

Christie’s family relied on food banks and food from their churches as lifelines. “We weren’t going to eat if we didn’t have these services,” Christie reflects. They couldn’t afford a car and were grateful the church delivered, emphasizing the vital role of home delivery programs in bridging the gap caused by lack of transportation to access necessary services.

Entering adulthood, Christie found her struggles not easing but amplifying, as she grappled with self-sufficiency. Without support, she faced the harsh realities of adulthood alone. During this challenging period, homelessness led Christie to face malnutrition and significant weight loss, deepening her struggle. When she thinks about eating during this time, she says, “It wasn’t this enjoyable experience I looked forward to, I just ate fast, I didn’t care about taste. It wasn’t meaningful.” She was isolated by her circumstances, and food was a necessity devoid of enjoyment or communal sharing.

Amid adversity, Christie harnessed a mindset of growth and empowerment. Her journey toward self-improvement was marked by her decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree while also benefiting from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “I think it’s important that people understand help exists.” she says, acknowledging the significant yet often overlooked food insecurity rate among college students. “I went into a ton of debt to sacrifice to get good grades, it costs so much more in the end for someone who doesn’t have a family or a community to help.”

Now as a volunteer for food pantries and nonprofit organizations, Christie’s journey has come full circle. Through her engagement, Christie has transformed her own experiences of hardship into avenues for supporting others, embodying the essence of community empowerment and support. “Give kids a better chance to get out of the abyss,” she urges, aiming to use her experience to light the way for others.

Christie’s transformation from poverty to the pursuit of a master’s in business exemplifies the impact of community support. From a beneficiary of community services to a champion for others, her story underscores the importance of programs like Marion Polk Food Share’s home delivery and mobile pantry programs. These initiatives not only provide immediate relief, but also foster a sense of belonging and community among participants.

As Christie continues to weave her narrative into the fabric of our community, her life serves as a powerful call to action. It is a reminder that behind every donation, every volunteer hour, lies the potential to transform lives — to turn the tide of food insecurity and build a stronger community.

Thank you for your generous support of Marion Polk Food Share, which provides critical support for neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity.

And thank you to the following partners who join you in supporting the Food Share:

Brenden Family Foundation
Emergency Food and Shelter Program
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest
Madrona Hill Foundation
OCF Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation
OnPoint Community Credit Union
Richard and Barbara Marx Foundation
Walmart Inc #1784