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Motherhood, the Pandemic and Never Giving Up

Second in a series of blog posts from the front lines of hunger relief with Woody Smith.

When the world is crumbling around us with new, scary and unprecedented challenges, how is it so many mothers are able to keep moving forward? The answer to that question is never more visible than in a crisis: Moms are focused on their family’s survival – it is part of a mother’s DNA.

Second Harvest continues to fight increasing food insecurity through our Pop-Up Drive Thru food distributions with the help of many amazing volunteers and it is no surprise that many of them are mothers. Jacqueline is one such volunteer and I wanted to learn more of her story.

Jacqueline’s life isn’t easy. She’s a wife and a mother to three children, and in addition to all she does for her family, she’s in nursing school which is taking more effort than she expected. But she pushes on because it will eventually improve life for her family. It also makes her stronger and more determined, which is what she wants to teach her daughter…the value of never giving up. With a smile she tells me, “If 10-year-old Jacqueline could see current day Jacqueline, she’d be in shock because she is doing more than she ever thought she could. When you don’t give up, you’re moving and growing and able to see yourself as a different person because you push your own limits and see how much you really can do.”

Watching Jacqueline’s enthusiasm as she lifted bags of potatoes and apples into the trunks of vehicles, I found myself wanting to hear more about why she serves. Jacqueline explained, “I’m Motherhere to volunteer representing other mothers…to give back to the community, to be a role model to my children. As a mother, as a woman, as a friend, as a wife…you have so many hats you have to put on and one of them is giving. When I go home my daughter asks me, “Mom what did you do today?” And I say, “I got to give back to people, people that really don’t have as much as we do.” Hopefully she sees me doing this and then as she gets older, she’ll want to give back just the same way.”

When I asked Jacqueline what advice she would have for the mothers trying to bring their families through this crisis she says, “I’d like to give them all hugs and tell them this day will pass and to trust that everything will be ok. Be strong and pull from that inner part of them that they didn’t think that they had. Just don’t give up.”

That’s good advice and a wise insight.

I thought of Jacqueline’s words on Mother’s Day as I called my own mother to thank her for being the rock of our family. At 83, my mother looks back on all our “adventures” and laughs off the fear and uncertainty that visited our family on multiple occasions. I asked her what she thinks of this current crisis? With the quiet confidence of a mother who has beaten adversity time and time again she said, “Everything will be fine…it always is.”

Until next week…