Before Steve found the Mid Lane Love Project food pantry in Veneta, he was living with his dog in a pump house on an abandoned piece of property two miles out of town. A friend dropped him off there and never came back.
“Between the drinking and the drugs I wasn’t even surviving. I was existing,” said the 57-year-old Brooklyn native. He had survived three pulmonary embolisms and was still suffering from the effects of those attacks. “I was living day to day, looking for food, trying to get money, trying to find a place to live. I was in pretty bad shape.”
He had nothing to eat or drink. He was hungry and thirsty. He tried to walk the two miles into Veneta, but he was too weak to make it. Finally, after almost a week without food or water, he walked into town.
“After that I walked to town every day. I found myself sitting on the bench outside the Love Project. They’d give me a sandwich, and they’d give my dog some water.”
Mid Lane Love Project is one of more than 30 emergency food pantries that partner with FFLC to distribute food. One day Steve overheard a volunteer say they were short handed. He raised his hand and offered to help. That was two years ago. Since then he has become a trusted volunteer. He picks up food for the pantry at FFLC three times a week.
“People really do care,” he says, choking back tears. “I didn’t have that in my life. It restored my faith in humanity.”
“Since the day I walked into the Love Project my life has done a 180. With the help of Corinne my manager I was able to get my disability, which gave me money. I was able to buy a truck for transportation. I moved out of the pump house and got my own trailer on a piece of property that I rent from another Love Project volunteer. I have a place to live. I have a vehicle. I have friends. Nothing but good things.”