Dawn’s enthusiasm for life and her love of family and community is evident in all she does. But her journey to happiness hasn’t always been easy.
Dawn and her family depended on the Greater Dover Area New Philadelphia Food Pantry, a network partner of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, during difficult times. Little by little, they realized the pantry offered more than just food; it provided access to numerous local resources, and, most importantly, compassionate friendship.
“The pantry has seen me at my very lowest, when I had absolutely nothing and nowhere to go but up,” said Dawn. “Never once did I feel unwelcome, judged or shamed. They love you for who you are and genuinely want to help.”
Dawn began volunteering regularly at the pantry. She couldn’t always find a babysitter for her 5-year-old son, so she brought him along. The other volunteers who quickly became family, helped look after him. To this day, her son still asks if he can leave school early to go volunteer.
Dawn no longer needs to rely on food assistance benefits to help provide for her family. She went back to college to study counseling and uses her new skillset volunteering with an addiction recover group at and at the Tuscarawas jail.
“There are days when I wake up and I want to pull the covers back over my head and go back to bed. But then I remember I can get through anything,” she explained.
It can still be difficult near the end of the month, once all bills are paid, to provide a nutritious meal for her two younger children, but the pantry is always there if they need it.
Dawn looks forward to her new career in the counseling field and helping people by showing them a new way of life.