Standing in Line at The Food Bank


By Molly MacDonald

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Phillipians 4:12

Last Wednesday, I was one of hundreds of metro Detroit women enjoying a full breakfast at The Somerset Collection to benefit  Gleaner’s Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.  For more than 32 years Gleaners has been “nourishing communities by feeding hungry people.”

While we were seated among baskets of fresh bagels and muffins, each place setting held a  yogurt parfait, a glass of orange juice, your choice of hot beverage, and right before my very eyes, what can only be described as dessert for breakfast, a triangle-shaped flourless brownie, glazed in dark and white chocolate with a drizzle of raspberry coulis and a slim bite-sized dark chocolate bar!  Initially I was concerned that this bountiful breakfast riddled with sugar would send me into a  high only to crash later in the day.  But when I left my seat for a moment to say hello to a friend, I returned to a plate of Quiche, grilled asparagus and a pineapple and orange garnish.  The entire meal was catered by Matt Prentice, a local Detroit restauranteur who is known for his fine establishments and his generous give back to the community.

Every woman (and man) at breakfast that morning went away well fed.  But I had to ask myself, had any of them known hunger?  Apart from Michigan’s Helen Phillips, winner of The Biggest Loser,  who served as Mistress of Ceremonies!  Certainly shedding 140 pounds, Helen has known hunger, but not from any inability to secure nourishment.

Was I perhaps one of the only women in this well-heeled room of Jimmy Choos,  Philanthropy and Power who has felt shame  coupled with gratitude to be able to go to a local church and stand in line for a few boxes of food?

I know what it is to be in need.

As I sat there with all the food before me, I had to resist the temptation to wrap up a bagel or two for a later meal.  Because  once you’ve known hunger, no matter how many years it has been, you understand how easily it could happen again.  And like those of us with depression era parents or grandparents, I  understand their “save it, because I may need it later” mentality.  Even if it is only a bagel.

I know what it is to be in need.

For seven years prior to my April 2005 breast cancer diagnosis I knew all too well what it was like to live in want.  After living in plenty for a decade and a half, a reversal of fortune and a divorce left me and my five young children on the brink of homelessness.  For seven years, with the help of my family and whatever work I could secure, we were able to remain in one home, put food on the table and trust God to provide for the next week and the week after that.

I know what it is to be in need.

And just as I was about to resurrect us from this place of fear with a job that would pay close to six figures,  a breast cancer diagnosis took me on a six month detour from the workforce,  landing our home  in foreclosure, and leading me to the local food bank.

I know what it is to be in need.

Standing in line among the homeless and the mentally ill for whom the food bank is a way of life, I looked around the room and recognized others like myself, those with that ” deer in headlights”  look, of  “How did it come to this?”  Were they, hoping as I did, this was one of those temporarily out of luck situations;  that within a few weeks we’d be back at Kroger happily pushing a cart?  Revelling in pleasure at what once was considered drudgery, a trip to the grocery.

I know what it is to be in need.

For our family, it was more than a few months before we found ourselves in line at Kroger, clutching coupons to stretch our new-found “wealth.”

Fast forward four years to today . . . .I am blessed with a full-time job working for a fabulous company, Shore Mortgage, whose main mission is to provide shelter for families by helping them secure a home.  (Shore, like many Detroit area businesses, is a proud community partner to Gleaners and Forgotten Harvest.)

I am Founder and President of The Pink Fund, whose main mission is to help families keep a roof over their head,  a car in the driveway and insurance policies paid; and by redirecting our clients to local food banks,  food on the table.

Because I have known what it is to have plenty and I have known what it is to be in need, I know full well the “now more than ever” importance of supporting our local food banks, Gleaners and Forgotten Harvest.

Because now more than ever there are thousands of people in Michigan standing line at the food bank, with that deer in headlights how did I get here look, just hoping in a few weeks they will be back in line at Kroger.

Every dollar you donate can provide up to three meals for a hungry person.  Please consider feeding the hungry by making a donation.   Visit or

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