I remember the first time my grandma brought me items from the food bank. My mom was absent at the time, detoxing from methamphetamine and the last thing on her mind was me or buying groceries. My grandma walked in with a big box that I labeled as “poor people food.” I never thought that me and my mom would be in a position where we wouldn’t be able to afford groceries. Embarrassed and ashamed, I refused to look at the contents within the box. What were people going to say? What were they going to think? Why us?

Looking back on how I acted that day, I feel awful. What I didn’t understand at the time was that nonprofits existed to help others. They gave and never expected anything in return, a concept that I didn’t know to be true. In all honesty, the idea of this kind of frightened me.

I think that I, like so many others, am afraid to seek help and push my pride and ego aside. I’m absolutely terrified of failure and the opinions of others. But one thing remains true in all of this: sometimes we like to think that we can do it all, but there are going to be times in our lives when we can’t.

The food bank wasn’t the only nonprofit that helped me while growing up. One year while anxiously waiting for money that never came, I found myself the week before school without any supplies. My grandma took me to the school drive at Real Life and I was able to get pens and pencils, and notebooks. Yet, even with all of the help that I had received, I never told a soul about the soup that came from the food bank or the notebook that came from the school supply drive.

It’s hard to say where I would be without the help of these organizations. I most likely wouldn’t be attending college or have an apartment of my own. More importantly, I probably wouldn’t be here writing and telling my story at a company that serves to help other nonprofit organizations. Years have passed and now I feel grateful rather than ashamed.

Because of nonprofits, I was able to eat when our cupboards were empty, I went to school with everything that I needed in order to learn, and I was supplied with something as simple as a utensil that helped me discover my love for writing. We must abandon the social stigma against food banks and other organizations that serve to help. I never thought that my family would be one to seek donations for school supplies or food, but we did. I feel blessed and immensely thankful for the gifts that these nonprofit organizations were able to give me.