“When everything is gone, you just freak out. As a single parent, you don’t have time to freak out,” said Helena. “I grew up homeless as a child in San Luis Obispo County. As an adult, moving back here, being in my own small business, I never thought that this would ever happen.” Her business came to a screeching halt. Helena applied for food stamps among other services offered to alleviate the need, but it wasn’t enough.
Over the past year and a half during the pandemic, SLO County has seen an increase of 54% in the number of those needing assistance from the food bank. San Luis Obispo single mother and small business owner, Helena Murawski-Quintanar, never had an inkling she would have to use the service to provide for her family, but the pandemic had other ideas. “We’ll bring in about 25-30,000 pounds in this food drive. That will hold us over for about six months,” said Morrison.
“Absolute zero overnight. It was very difficult,” said Helena of the income from her local business. Over the first nine years of KSBY’s Season of Hope campaign, the community has come through.
No line to wait in, no hoops to jump through; just a community working together to help those in their time of need. “I encourage people to come in here. Walk into the food bank if you’re on this side of town, meet these people, and then you’ll want to help. Give as much as you can because it’s definitely going to help a lot of families, maybe even your own,” said Helena. “When I came here, it was really easy to come back. It kind of feels like a family,” said Helena.
It was there, and it can be for your family or for someone you know that needs assistance. Helena says there’s no shame in needing help from time to time. “I noticed that it would be very sparse at the end of the month. I needed something to fill in some space because my boys are SLO High football players. They eat a lot,” said Helena. “It was tough. Trying not to show them that you’re frustrated or upset or worried about things. The food bank helped with that. I didn’t have to explain things. It was just kind of there for them.”
The News Highlights
- San Luis Obispo, single mother and small business owner, used SLO Food Bank during the pandemic
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