by Michael Letendre, Contributor
Christmas could have been difficult this year for some local families without the help of the Abbotsford Food Bank and Christmas Bureau, which provides those in need with a hamper of food and Christmas gifts for their children.
Sarah Clegg, 34, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jaydah, are grateful for the help.
Clegg, who has used the food bank for most of her life, said it is easy for people to judge.
“You feel like you have to explain your whole life to someone to get their respect.”
Sitting on a couch in her basement suite, Clegg’s voice shook as she recounted her life as one marred by abuse, drugs and poverty. Raised in a violent home, she was molested by a family friend when she was only four. She started smoking at the age of 11, and moved to drugs and alcohol by age 12.
Clegg was struck by a car when she was 13, leaving her with constant back pain and unable to work.
Clegg spent most of her teens and 20s addicted to drugs, spiralling so far out of control she duelled with death. Thoughts of her daughter kept her going, and ultimately led her to get addiction treatment.
“I didn’t want my daughter following my path, so I had to change my ways.”
Sober for the past seven years, Clegg said the food bank has been a foundation of support for her family.
“Without them, we would not have made it this far.”
Clegg sometimes has a hard time accepting help from others, but has never felt judged by the people at the food bank.
“They have never once made me feel guilty about getting their help. They just want to see people do well in the community.”
That spirit of generosity is a value that Clegg wants to instil in her daughter.
“I try to teach my daughter that it’s better to give than to receive, so we made sure we donated $20 to the SPCA this Christmas. It might not be much, but it’s all we can give.”
To make a donation to the Abbotsford Food Bank, visit abbotsfordfoodbank.com, call 604-859-5749 or drop in to 33914 Essendene Ave.