Once a month Desmond Benson and his family of five head to Mastery High School in Camden to pick up milk, meat and nonperishable food items from the school’s food pantry distribution, sponsored by the Food Bank of South Jersey.
The assistance that Desmond and his family receive is invaluable.
“When it’s the end of the month and you’re running out of food at home and you have used most of your earnings to pay your bills, it is great to know that assistance is out there,” says Desmond.
Getting help is not something that Desmond views as failure. “People, especially fathers, should not be ashamed to ask for help. I tell people all the time not to be discouraged because we all fall short at some point in our lives, and it’s important to grow from the struggle and situations we are placed in.”
Desmond, who works as a Parent Advocate Leader for Parents for Great Camden Schools, has seen how hunger can affect a child’s education. “Part of my job is to fight to give our children the best education they can get and a part of that is removing barriers – like hunger. When a child is hungry, they can’t focus on learning, so I make sure parents are aware of all of the local school pantry distributions.”
It is important to Desmond to give back to his community, and to pass that belief down to his children – which is why he and his wife make sure their children see them volunteering. “It is important for our kids to see us helping others, especially because we have been helped so much. Our children see the respect we have earned from our community because of the work we do.”
Desmond hopes that his work and experiences have instilled in his children the knowledge that even when you don’t have much, there are always ways to give back, and that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
This Father’s Day, please show fathers in our community, like Desmond, how much you care with a gift to the Food Bank of South Jersey. Help make sure families continue to eat – together.