The Reality of Hunger for Hardworking Families
Melissa Butrick has a heart for serving the community. For many years, she spent hours volunteering each week, donated to local charities and even ran the food pantry at her church. But after a difficult divorce and move to Missouri, everything changed.
Melissa made the move to the Springfield area from Maryland in 2016 to live near her best friend. She got a job and found a place to live but soon realized that she wasn’t able to pay all of her bills and have enough money left for groceries each month. She started using her credit card to purchase food.
“A credit card is just another bill I can’t pay at the end of the month,” she shared. “When your entire paycheck is literally gone after paying bills, you have no money left for gas or groceries. I was borrowing $20 here and there
from a couple friends, but I knew I couldn’t do that forever.”
Throughout her eighteen years of marriage, Melissa didn’t have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck. She and her ex-husband both had well-paying jobs and could easily afford everything they needed.
“I’ve always been mindful of money, but I never had to live within a budget, and I never really wanted for anything,” she said. “I’ve always paid my bills on time and in full, too. That’s just how I was raised.”
To help make ends meet, Melissa explored her options and discovered Bread of Life food pantry at Marshfield Christian Church, where she now receives food once a month.
“I’ve always been generous and helpful, so to be on the other side of the equation is really weird,” she said.
As an associate at for an RV dealer in Strafford, Melissa earns just over the maximum salary allowed to qualify for SNAP benefits. The food she receives from Bread of Life lasts her most of the month. Thanks to the food pantry and a
little bit of help from her friends and neighbors, Melissa rarely has to go without food.
She now uses her credit card as a “last resort” and saves it for emergencies and vet visits for her three dogs.
In order to give back, Melissa currently volunteers in Ozarks Food Harvest’s warehouse and at the C-Street Connect food pantry at Crimson House. She enjoys giving her time because she knows it helps people who face the same realities she does.
“I hear stories from people that make a quarter of what I make, and they’re trying to do the same things I am—pay rent, make car payments, work, feed their kids and all that,” she said. “They’re doing it with a lot less than I make, and it hurts my heart.”
People across Missouri, even those with full-time jobs, are struggling to feed their families day in and day out. Each day, The Food Bank is working hard to make sure that people like Melissa don’t have to worry about how they will pay bills and afford to eat each month.
This year, let’s focus on providing more meals—and more hope—in the Ozarks.