Theresa has been coming to the food pantry at IMPACT Community Action Association in Boone for almost two years. Her cancer diagnosis brought her to the pantry, but having a resource like IMPACT is what Theresa says gives her strength.

“I can’t work, I only have so much money, and I was used to living a life where I’d be the one to help other people. Now I have to find ways to sustain my income so that I can afford food,” she shared.

With her treatments, it is vital that she gets the right nutrition. At IMPACT she has access to meat and fresh fruits and vegetables. Other items she receives include rice, spaghetti, milk and fresh eggs brought in by local farmers.

Theresa says the food is great, and there are more options than just canned goods. She firmly believes that if it weren’t for the pantry she would not have ability to get the nutritious food and protein her body needs to withstand chemotherapy and radiation.

“It feels good to know that I have a reliable resource here at IMPACT. I think that is why I’m doing as well as I am.” The Staff at IMPACT provides emotional support along with the food assistance. Not once have they made her feel uncomfortable about having to ask for help. When the stage four cancer took her hair, staff would complement her on the hats she wore, making her feel more confident.

Additionally, Theresa has received recipes to accompany the food she gets from the pantry and a recipe to make laundry soap so that she can stretch her income further. Theresa can also go there for personal items like toilet paper, feminine products and dish soap.

Not long ago Theresa would be the one to encourage her children to be kind and give to others when they could. She now feels grateful for the assistance she receives from the pantry at IMPACT made possible by kind people.

She has paid that assistance forward too, by suggesting IMPACT as a resource to friends who are also struggling. “I tell everybody that the staff here is very nice and that if they need something all they have to do is let them know. They will sit them down and help them.”

When it comes to donors and supporters of agencies like IMPACT Community Action Association in Boone, Theresa would tell them this: “We appreciate it very much. It all comes back around and we all need as much help as we can get.”

About the artist

Jennifer Leatherby is a painter, illustrator, and digital artist. She lives and works in Des Moines, Iowa where she co-owns Portrait Studio and a feminist t-shirt brand. She is inspired by minimalism and the digital age. Learn more at