A woman recently stopped at the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin food bank looking for help. She apologized before asking, and made it clear that she didn’t know where else to turn. It was obvious that she was tired and desperate. In her arms, she held a tiny little baby named “Rose.”

Rose looked very healthy despite her tiny size. Rose’s mom was under dressed for the weather, but Rose looked comfortable under several blankets that were tucked carefully around her body. Mom said she spends her money to make sure Rose has what she needs, but sometimes that means there is nothing left for her.

She looked away as she explained she didn’t expect her life to be this way. But Rose was born early and required a lot of care, which took all the money she had saved. Rose’s father left them when he realized how hard it was to care for a premature baby. Mom was quick to tell me she only needed just a little—just enough to get by when the food she can afford runs out.

I sat down with her and told her that she is a “hero” for finding a way to provide for her child in spite of life’s curveballs. We talked about community resources that can help her—including a food pantry located near her home that has begun to distribute fresh produce every week because of their partnership with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

When the woman left our food bank—with little Rose in her arms and the resources she needed—I was confident she knew where to access the healthy food she needs for her little family, as well as additional resources to help her move forward in other areas of her life. It truly does take a village.

At the end of May, we will be hosting the Grateful Plate Gala, our major fundraiser for the year that provides nearly a million meals to the community. This year we chose the theme “Everyday Heroes” to celebrate people like Rose’s mom. People who struggle every day to take care of themselves and their families, yet find a way. We also want to celebrate the heroes like our volunteers, member pantries, food donors, and financial supporters who give so much of themselves to help their neighbors. Everyday heroes—it couldn’t be a more fitting theme.

Rose is a lucky little girl to have such a loving mom. Happy Mother’s Day!