Ten years ago, Rachel was a typical teenager. When the Great Recession hit, she had to face a jarring new reality where ordering off the dollar menu was a treat. Both of her parents were laid off from their jobs and suddenly their little income and savings were gone. Her parents decided to go back to school to help get the family back on track. It wasn't easy. Rachel remembers that with only one family car, her dad often walked to Valencia College to pursue his nursing degree.
Rachel and her family found tremendous support at their church food pantry and through programs like SNAP, also known as food stamps. Thinking back on that time, Rachel recalls, "There were times we only had crackers in the house. We would have never made it without this kind of help from others."
And while they lost many things during the recession, including their house, today Rachel's family has come so far. Her dad earned his degree and is an assistant nurse manager at a local hospital. Her mom is also back to work as a teacher. As for Rachel, she is applying to medical school.
While she studies for the MCAT, Rachel is a weekly volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank. After a quick Google search, she discovered all the different ways to give back to a cause that has meant so much to her personally. She has sorted food donations, served as a Brand Ambassador in the community and even assisted with iHope Camp over the summer.
"I know how important this work is," Rachel said.