by Paula Deen
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that life is as easy as pie, and for good reason: It’s not. Life sure is sweet when things are going your way, but you need a lot of luck, hope and prayer for it to work out how you want. And even then, you may feel like you’re at the end of your rope.
Sometimes the only thing left to save us is the kindness of others.
I lost both of my parents when I was just a young lady, but my grandmothers, aunts and uncles held me close, watching me bumble through life and stepping in when I needed it most. And boy did I need it. When I opened The Lady & Sons downtown, we took a big risk. Few people believed in me. I invested every penny I had earned to try and open that restaurant, hoping to make a better life for my boys and me. During that year delays in plans and permits wore us out and had us wonderin’ if we’d ever make it. I can remember Bobby coming to me one day saying how hungry he was. I scrounged through a little change box to piece together enough for a meal. Imagine that, a child coming to his momma for food that she can’t hardly provide.
But I believed, with all my heart, that the restaurant—if we could ever get it open—would make all the difference in my life and in my boy’s lives. Believing only got me so far. The money ran dry and it started looking like I would lose what little I had.
That’s when my Aunt Peggy rescued us. She pledged her CD to the bank so that they’d loan me the money I needed. She helped our dreams come true and I will be forever grateful for her support, trust and belief in me. She will always be my hero and I love her more than she will ever know.
This past year has been a hard one for so many families. Small businesses are closing down and folks are losing their jobs left and right. Having seen the hungry look on my own child’s face, it tears me up knowing that families are without food.
I know how a kind gesture can change lives, so a couple of weeks ago I started paying it forward. Along with my partner Smithfield Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers, I have committed to Feeding the Hungry. Together we will donate and deliver nearly 20 million servings of protein to hungry families across America over the next three years. It is something I can do to help. I hope y’all will look for something you too can do. Everyone has something to give and if we all pitch in, we can help see that no child goes to bed hungry in our country.
Is life easy as pie? No, it isn’t always, but it can be just as sweet. Remembering the love, trust and support given to me so many years ago when I was a struggling single mother and doing my part to pay that generosity forward…makes everyday a little sweeter.