“You Just Never Know What Someone is Going Through”: Volunteer of 10 Years Learns of Patrons’ Hardships

Lexi Ambrose has been volunteering at GBM for the past ten years and her experiences continue to both amaze and humble her. Through her time as a volunteer, she’s gained a greater understanding of the hardships low-income people face and learned some valuable lessons from the people she has met. 

“It keeps you grateful and humble when you see such poverty and you see how blessed you are. It breaks my heart to see people standing outside for so long just for food. Some people come in hungry, or they’re diabetic and feel like they’re going to pass out. You just never know when someone’s last meal was,” Lexi said. 

Lexi has been volunteering every week since 2004. She likes to spend Friday mornings at GBM helping with food assistance intake. Over the years, she’s met patrons who stand out in her mind. In some cases, it’s been years since she’s seen patrons, yet she still wonders how they’re doing.

“Once I saw a lady so emaciated from cancer that she had a feeding tube. Her daughter was in the hospital and she took care of all of her grandkids. She looked so close to death; I was afraid for her,” Lexi remembers, a tears gathering in the corners of her eyes. 

“Another lady had a sick son because he had a stroke at age eleven—eleven—so she had to take care of him. But she had esophageal cancer at the same time. People come in with various stages of cancer and other illnesses and they may or may not have treatment. And people in their 80s and 90s stand outside—sometimes in the heat and cold—for food,” added Lexi. “You just never know what someone is going through.”

Despite the hardships GBM’s patrons face, one thing Lexi seldom hears is complaining. “If you ask people how they’re doing, they’ll say they’re blessed, and everyone is always so thankful for the help they get.”

 If you’d like to make a donation to GBM’s food pantry for people like those Lexi assists, click here to make a monetary donation online, or you can drop food off at the GBM’s location, 2304 12th Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35234, Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. All donations are tax deductible.