Shortly after the pandemic hit Texas, Albina and her family—like many families across Central Texas—found themselves suddenly without job security and, consequently, financial stability. Her neighbor had been visiting their local food pantry and encouraged Albina to go with her. “I was afraid because I didn’t know,” Albina recounts. “I’ve been living in Pflugerville for 19 years and I didn’t know anything about local charities.” With the support and encouragement of her friend and neighbor, Albina visited Circle of Hope Community Center to pick up food for her family. It was there that she was handed a flyer for the Pflugerville Mobile Food Pantry and began visiting the distribution each month.
Albina lives in Pflugerville with her husband and their three sons, ages 12, 19 and 25. While her husband was able to maintain his work throughout the pandemic, she lost her job and found it difficult to find work for a long time. Albina finds that work in the housekeeping field is still difficult to find, post-pandemic, as it is often one of the first items people cut from their budget. Recently, she’s been able to find work cleaning an office part-time, but the income is still not enough to cover all of her family’s expenses.
Not only did Albina and her husband have to rely on one income to support their household of five, they had the added stress of navigating a global pandemic with a sick child. Diagnosed with cancer in 2016, their youngest son had to undergo three years of treatment, which included chemotherapy. “You never expect something like this, ”Albina shares. “During the pandemic, everything was more complicated.” In addition to added medical expenses, she also had to make sure her son had access to nutritious food, which he often struggled to eat. “Because he had to take a lot of medicine, sometimes he didn’t want to eat a lot,” Albina says. Thankfully, he is now in remission and only has to go in for check-ups every 6 months.
Albina is grateful to find plenty of healthy options when she goes to the Mobile Food Pantry. “ [The Food Bank] gives out a lot of fruit and that helps a lot.” In addition to fruit, her children also enjoy chicken and rice and chicken and potatoes. “Thank you so much to the donors for helping so many families,” Albina says. “Thank you.”