COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The pandemic has shown how many people are at risk of food insecurity and for growing children, not having enough can have a lasting impact. According to the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, one in four children struggle to find enough to eat.
A teenager from Columbus never thought he would need the food bank, but he was certainly glad they were there when he did.
“Honestly, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank has done so much for me,” Nathan Majeed said of his experience with the nonprofit.
Months before the COVID-19 pandemic, Majeed spent part of his junior year at Cristo Rey High School volunteering his time for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. He didn’t know he would soon be the recipient.
“Besides just needing food, they were mentors and leaders and I absolutely loved everything they did for me,” said Majeed.
When COVID hit and Majeed learned schools would close for two weeks, it almost felt like a vacation.
“At first it seemed like an exciting thing,” said Majeed. “We will have this break for a few weeks, then everyone will come back and we will all be refreshed, but we quickly realized that was not happening.”
This “pause”, as we all know, has turned into a pandemic in its own right, with lives and jobs destroyed. Both Majeed’s parents were fired.
“It was a surprising thing for us,” said Majeed. “My mother-in-law, for sure, she not only enjoys working as an income, but it is also a social moment.”
They tried to use what little money they had on food, but Majeed, who was an athlete and a growing boy, was suddenly faced with something he had never had before: hunger. .
So, they turned to a place Majeed never thought he should, but a familiar place: the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.
“I felt really safe about it,” Majeed said. “The Mid-Ohio Food Bank makes you feel like, okay, you don’t have to worry about a thing, that’s okay. Especially with the National Guard there, they were so helpful, so quick, everything went well. “
Today, Majeed is studying physics at a college in California and wants anyone facing food insecurity to drop the stigma and ask for help.
“I just want to let them know that they are not alone,” said Majeed. “And there are a lot of people who are going to help them and they don’t have to be ashamed because it’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s natural.”