A Reminder of What Was Lost….

Losing my mom at the age of 64 six years ago was the most difficult thing I have ever been through. It all seems rather unfair to me that she was taken at such a young age and I feel like I have lost my best friend, confidant and mentor. By nature, mothers and daughters have a special, unbreakable bond with each other and my mom was simply AMAZING.

I miss talking to her every day and I miss getting random phone calls from her to just “check in.” As in most families, especially in the south, my mom was the glue that kept everyone together. Over the past 6 years, our family has changed so much since she passed.

At first we rallied together to try to get through the hurt of losing her and the losses of our family homes in this new version of our life we were still adjusting to post-Katrina. Today, our family has drifted apart and has turned into something I don’t even recognize. I’ve tried to fill her shoes to be that person to keep our family close like we used to be, but there’s just too much resistance and I can’t bring everyone together like she could. I know she is watching over us and I would guess that she is probably very hurt to see that things just aren’t the way they used to be.

My kids are the youngest in our family and I often feel like they missed the amazing opportunity of getting to know their grandmother the way I knew her. My son was only 4 when she died and he doesn’t remember her other than through the photos, home videos and stories that we have shared with him and this hurts me more than anything.  My daughter was very close to my mom – she was only 9 years old when she died and I don’t think she has recovered from losing her either.  Like most grandmothers, my mom had a way to make each grandchild feel like they were special and that they were loved. I know my daughter misses that feeling and I just wish my son was able to experience it longer.

Today as I reflect on the past six years without my mom, I realize that no matter when this inevitable day would have happened…the result would be the same for me – I miss her every minute of every day. We shared a very close bond and losing a parent, especially your mom, is the hardest thing in the world. So, whenever I hear my friends talk about how much of a pain their mom is being – I remind them that life is short – whatever you do – please give your mom a big hug and tell her how much you love her as often as you can. Don’t fight over the petty things…they don’t matter. Spending quality time with your mom = PRICELESS.

There are reminders, signs if you believe in them, of her every day. From the yellow butterflies that I see following me along the path to work, or the images of giraffes that I spot in random places and then there are the times when I look at the clock the same time almost every day that I like to think is her way of telling me “I’m still with you.” Not everyone believes in life after death but this is a discussion we had several years before she died and she knows I’m a believer.

Harvest the Music – 5th Annual Concert Series Has Begun!

This week the 5th Annual Harvest the Music concert series kicked off at Lafayette Square with a great concert by Los Po-Boy-Citos and the Iguanas. The square was hopping with people enjoying the beautiful fall-like weather, gathering with friends and supporting Second Harvest Food Bank.

September is Hunger Action Month, and while the food bank is usually busy talking about hunger in our community throughout the month, this year things were delayed a little because of Hurricane Isaac. Second Harvest has been operating in disaster response mode since August 31 and to date has distributed just over 1.5 million pounds of food in the areas impacted by Hurricane Isaac. Through Harvest the Music this year, we will talk about the HUNGER issues affecting south Louisiana and how to use your voice to “Speak out against hunger.”

Wednesday night, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was aglow in ORANGE to support the kick-off of the Harvest the Music concert series and to put HUNGER in the spotlight. The first concert was a big success and this week Dr. John is sure to draw a huge crowd for a great cause.

Please spread the word about the concerts and I hope to see you all out there the next 5 weeks enjoying great food, friends and a good time!


Fighting Child Hunger with a new Toyota

We all feel hunger pains at some point during the day. Most of us are lucky enough to not have to worry where our next meal will come from, however not everyone is so lucky. Summer is a busy time for most families and before starting my new job at Second Harvest Food Bank a couple months ago, I never really thought much about how families and children that receive free and reduced lunches are affected during the summer.

What I’ve learned is both eye-opening and frightening: 1 in 5 CHILDREN in Louisiana struggles with hunger, this means someone my son goes to school with could be hungry. The need for food assistance during the summer months at Second Harvest is tremendous and it is usually a time of year when donations are not as plentiful.

Last June, Second Harvest Food Bank opened the Community Kitchen inside the spacious 700 Edwards Avenue warehouse. This community kitchen prepares hot, nutritious meals for children through its Kids Cafe and Summer Feeding program sites across the New Orleans metropolitan area. Last year the community kitchen at Second Harvest fed 2,500 children breakfast and lunch totaling 101,525 meals at 36 sites.

This summer, Second Harvest has increased its Summer Feeding program to over 50 sites and feeding almost 4,000 children daily. That’s nearly a quarter million meals for children who might otherwise go hungry this summer. These meals are prepared, plated and delivered daily by a team of volunteers who often use their own vehicles. This summer these meals will feed children in the Greater New Orleans area as well as three sites in Lafayette, St. Martin and Calcasieu parishes. A new Toyota vehicle will help Second Harvest Food Bank deliver nutritious meals to more children in need!

This Saturday, June 9 Second Harvest is competing against 4 other organizations to win a new Toyota from the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program. I hope the NOLAFemmes community will support Second Harvest and their mission to end hunger and especially child hunger across south Louisiana.

To vote visit: www.100CarsForGood.com  voting takes place between 9am – 11pm CDT Saturday, June 9.

I hope to be able to share more news from Second Harvest Food Bank to all of you again soon.