She graciously shared her personal journey to financial stability and good health with guests at the 2018 Give From the Heart Gala. Lorraine lit up the room with her inspiring story: "Without UCM, I would not be the happy, healthy person you see tonight. Thanks to the fresh food at UCM's food pantry, I am able to eat healthy even on my limited budget."
"It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I speak to you tonight. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. UCM is heaven sent. Many many years ago, I had a good career as a special ed teacher. Then my life fell apart as I was diagnosed with a serious mental illness.
"I was truly homeless when I first came to UCM. I was deeply depressed and could not envision any help or hope for the future.
"But when I came to UCM, it was like a burden was lifted – my fears and worries began to evaporate, and my situation began to improve. Along the way, I was blessed to qualify for supportive housing that meant I had a safe home. But with my limited Social Security income, I truly can’t afford to pay for food, household necessities, dental needs like my abscessed tooth, and other assistance. I took computer classes at UCM’s Work Center and now use the computers at the Sacramento Center, since I don’t have a computer at home.
"The counselors at UCM are amazing: very welcoming and respectful. They show great compassion and dedication. Without UCM – without your support – I would be hungry. Without UCM, I would not be the healthy and happy person you see standing here tonight.
"About 18 months ago, I was faced with another health crisis and my doctor put me on a strict, healthy diet. On my budget, I couldn’t do it.
"Tonight what I am most excited to share with you is this: Thanks to the healthy, fresh food at UCM, I am able to eat healthy even on my limited budget. I am now off high blood pressure medicine and no longer diabetic. My cholesterol and all my lab work is excellent. My doctor is so amazed and pleased – and so am I!
"I am living proof that when you have healthy food, you have energy. Food is energy. Healthy food is even better. I never thought I could be feeling as good as I do now. And wow, healthy food even tastes great! There are so many fresh produce items I had never tried before – and I like them, like fresh beets and Swiss chard.
"The UCM team has inspired me to take good care of myself. I feel strong and excited about my future.
"How can you thank someone who has touched every part of your life? That’s how I feel about UCM and about your generous support that makes UCM’s work possible. This is a quote I like that sums up my feelings perfectly: 'No one is more cherished in the world than someone who lightens the burden of another.'
"Thank you for your support that helps me and other families. Your generous spirit and abundant kindnesses will always be remembered and with me in my heart. Thank you."
(April 14, 2018)