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Julie’s Story: Food For Thought Fed My Soul

Originally from Southern California, Food For Thought client Julie has lived in Sonoma County for most of her adult life. For years she has worked as an in-home care provider for the elderly and as a gardener. But in the fall of 2016, Julie knew that something wasn’t right.

“I just started getting progressively weaker and weaker. I was losing a lot of weight and then I lost my ability to speak.”

After a week in the hospital, Julie was told that she had a rare and life threatening blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This blood disorder had caused Julie’s weight loss and two minor strokes, which were the reason for her temporary loss of speech.

“Once I was diagnosed, I spent another three weeks in the hospital. I had to have my blood cleaned and some minor chemo. I also received treatment for malnutrition because I weighed less than 100 pounds.”

Julie was then able to return home and begin the slow recovery process. It was at one of her follow-up appointments that she was referred to Food For Thought.

“Coming to Food For Thought was one of the few things I got to do socially, while I was recovering. My partner and I would come in each week to get our food and have lunch. It was food as a community, and it fed my soul.”

As Julie regained her health, she decided to begin volunteering with Food For Thought. Unfortunately, Julie faced one more health challenge and came down with shingles on her face. But once she recovered, Julie became a weekly volunteer.

“Volunteering gave me confidence and strength because I had been shaken in my ability to function. I wanted to come in each week and see what I could do. I tried different tasks, but I mostly worked stocking produce so I could build my strength lifting all the fruit and vegetable boxes.”

Throughout 2017, Julie volunteered on Thursday afternoons restocking the produce case and taking client orders at the counter. She enjoyed getting to know all the regular volunteers, clients, and staff members.

“I felt like I was part of a family when I was at Food For Thought and I really needed that. I felt productive and just being able to give to others was important.”

Julie is now transitioning back into the workforce and no longer needs our nutrition support. She has very fond memories of her time as both a client and a volunteer at Food For Thought.

“When I was recovering from my illness, I had no fear of not having food to eat because of Food For Thought. I really felt part of the circle while volunteering and giving food to people in need—like we are all in this together.”