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Neighbors helping Neighbors

When Loretta, a hairdresser, welcomes a client into her home salon in Pleasant Shade for an appointment, she smiles and shares a warm greeting. Hearing about the lives of others is Loretta’s favorite part of the job — because it offers a small escape from the troubling realities of her own.

Since her husband’s untimely death, Loretta collects social security survivor benefits. She’s financially responsible for her son who lives with her and suffers from diabetes as well as a disability. Every other week, Loretta’s two grandchildren stay with her too. Income is tight. And food is scarce.

During one of her customer’s visits, Loretta broke down and shared some of the details of her personal troubles. The elderly woman told Loretta about a
nearby Second Harvest Mobile Pantry. The next day, Loretta arrived at 7 a.m. for the 9 a.m. Mobile Pantry food distribution at Living Waters in Smith County.

“With prices going up, the food is really helpful,” says a relieved Loretta. “A lot of stuff I get, I take it home and can it,” Loretta remarks about another helpful tip her client shared. “If there’s something I can’t use, I share it with my older customers — my ‘little ladies’.”

The elderly client who told Loretta about the Mobile Pantry uses an oxygen tank due to respiratory complications. Loretta makes sure to collect food for her first when a distribution arrives.

“I learned a lot from these little ladies,” Loretta smiles. “I sure do appreciate it. It really helps my family and some of my customers. We don’t let anything go to waste.”

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