Christina enlisted in the Air Force after high school. She remembers the sense of pride and accomplishment she felt after completing basic training. She went on to serve as a surgery tech in Desert Storm. After returning from war, she became sick and received a medical retirement. Retirement was a blessing because she was so ill, but also an unexpected disruption in her life. Within two weeks, she lost her job, her income and her personal identity.
She didn’t have enough money to support herself. She needed a new game plan and enrolled in college. Christina had to decide between attending school, working and never seeing her kids or attending school and receiving assistance. The military taught her to be self-reliant, so it wasn’t easy to ask for help. Her family moved into public housing and received food from a local pantry.
“To change your life plans that quickly is a big deal,” Christina recalls. “Without the assistance I received, I do not know what I would have done.”
Today, Christina pays the help forward. She is an avid supporter of volunteerism and giving back to others. Each month she brings a group of veterans to Second Harvest to share a meal and sort donations.