Early this morning about 200 community residents and partners came together to celebrate something pretty special. 

Serving St. Paul’s East side since 1908, Merrick Community Food Shelf has served 14,400 people a year with assistance to transition from poverty to independence. Their services run the gamut including a food shelf, senior services, employment services and youth and family services.

I had volunteered at Merrick in the past and knew just a nugget about the impact they had in East St. Paul.  But, today I heard stories of hope and opportunity from individuals directly impacted by Merrick.  In particular, a small framed woman who blatantly stated how nervous she was, took the microphone,  and told her story of how Merrick helped her.  Her story was woven with details of how Merrick helped her as a single mom, helped her gain employment skills, helped her get out of a situation that was less than desirable.

Her voice was soft but her story was big.

Being a single mom myself for ten years, I understood her struggles but I also admired her strength and her humility. 

And all because there are organizations like Merrick Community Food Shelf who have a mission to help people gain their independence.