She Turned a Childhood Embarrassment into a Career Helping Others

I have always had a heart for helping others and

Now, in my new role as special events coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, my job allows me to combine both passions into one! I am so thankful for that.

I want to share with you a little bit about the real reasons I decided to work for the Foodbank.

My childhood

I grew up in a very small town in central Illinois. I was raised by my mom, a hard-working woman who became a single mom when I was quite young.

I watched my mom struggle to pay for groceries, birthday presents and back-to-school clothes for me and my two younger sisters.

As the oldest, I always felt as though I had to play the father role and help my mom out as much as I could. When my mom got a Link card to help with groceries, I was overjoyed.

This card meant we would be able to stretch our small budget and be able to get the things we needed, such as new shoes for the school year.

I was grateful and excited about the Link card until I became a teenager. By that age, I was aware enough to feel awkward and embarrassed about having a Link card.

I remember the embarrassment I felt when my mom would send me to the grocery store to buy food with the Link card.

There was only one grocery store in the entire town, and the cashiers were often kids who went to my school. I was embarrassed that my family had to rely on assistance to pay for basic needs like milk and bread.

Fortunately, as I got older that sense of embarrassment evolved into gratitude and pride.

My sense of gratitude

I’m grateful that there was some sort of assistance to help my mom put food on the table for us three girls.

I was and am thankful for the lessons of humility I learned from those experiences. Today, I am thankful I am able to help those in similar situations, and offer them my own firsthand knowledge of what they’re going through.

A pivotal part of my job here at the Foodbank is to plan events that spread awareness and raise funds for families who need help like mine did.

Maybe you’re like me and have lived through a time when you’ve needed help and want to return the favor. Or maybe you just want to help others in need.

Either way, check out one of the events I’m working on. You can make a difference in the lives of real people in need.

  • Join us Oct. 20, 2014 for our annual Taste of the NFL event here at the Foodbank. Meet and greet St. Louis Rams players, enjoy live entertainment, bid on silent auction items, and sample fantastic food from some of St. Louis’ best restaurants.

If you would like some more information on this event, please contact me at

By Cassy Loeppky

St. Louis Area Foodbank Special Events Coordinator


I watched my mom struggle to pay for groceries, birthday presents and back-to-school clothes for me and my two younger sisters.


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