Written by Susanne Menge for Community Food Share. You can also watch our interview with Susanne by clicking here.
I never imagined I would be on the receiving end of Community Food Share.
On a warm summer day in 2021, I awoke with a sense of foreboding. Instead of looking forward to a day filled with the work I love, my beautiful daughters, and playing outdoors, I was preoccupied with thoughts of what I didn’t have, what wasn’t going right, and whether I could feed my family. These anxieties had become the narrative of my mind, leaving me exhausted and questioning life.
Let me give you a little backstory…
I was the classic Boulder stay-at-home Mom: we bought what we wanted, traveled as desired, and played a lot. I went to yoga often, was super fit, received weekly massages, volunteered at my daughters’ schools, and donated money to charitable organizations.
Then, life took a turn.
I was raped by a man in my spiritual community, and in the wake of that trauma, my husband blamed me and ended our marriage. At 41, I became a single mom, running a household alone for the first time in my life. I hadn’t worked in 14 years, and my confidence was at an all-time low. I lost my family and my spiritual community — I was alone, terrified, and I wasn’t sure I was up for staying alive.
Through a combination of faith and hard work, I found my way, one step at a time.
I walked into Whole Foods Market on Pearl Street and asked for any job they had. Slowly, I rebuilt my confidence, and I was blessed to work with a leader who helped me recognize my gift for impacting employees in ways far beyond the job: I would relax the “hurry-up” in people and inspire them to grow.
Three years later, in February 2020, I launched my own coaching and consulting business. It was time to truly own the extraordinary gift and calling that was put on my heart. A month later, COVID hit. I had remarkable clients, but the revenue was not keeping up. I began living off of credit card debt while attempting to deny the worries and self-doubt that had consumed my mind’s internal chatter.
It was quite the paradox: as a coach, I was working to fill the emotional hunger in our world and yet physical hunger was closing in on me.
I considered my options — give in or go again? I leaned into my faith, leaned into my friends, and I realized it was time to make a tectonic shift.
Humbly, and still with some resistance, I began to explore new options. I moved to a home with lower rent, and I took another job at Whole Foods to create a steady income. I decided it was time for me to humble myself and walk through Community Food Share’s doors.
I did it. I drove there, parked, and walked in. Every step required a deep breath and gratitude that, this time, I could be on the receiving end of support.
What I received from Community Food Share was, yes, a beautiful array of food for my family; more importantly, I received kindness and compassion from the people who welcomed me in and showed me how it works. I walked away with the emotional nourishment I needed to feel connected, to feel seen, and to know that I would get through this, doing what makes sense, one breath at a time.
I never expected to walk this path, yet my three visits to Community Food Share’s pantry allowed me to experience the nourishment that comes when we ask for help. I needed the food bank to break the cycle of poverty thinking in me so I could relax my hurry-up and take my next steps. Once I knew I could feed my family, I was able to reconnect to my mission of inspiring each person to relax their hurry-up and do what makes sense. I began to ask empowered questions like “How much fun can I have today?” and “What makes sense now?” and my life began to shift…rapidly.
I am beyond grateful for the support of Community Food Share. There is such extraordinary generosity in our world and though I am used to being the one that gives a hand up, in the moment I needed a hand, you were there.
I am blessed to be fully back on my path of inspiring individuals and teams to Relax Your Hurry-Up and Do What Makes Sense. I would love to invite you to receive Relax Your Hurry-Up Energy Shots: Everyday Encouragement via text message. All very brief — like a kiss when you run out the door. Or a high-five when you are going through hell. Text me at (303) 529-1585 to receive your gift today!
Interested in hearing more from Susanne? You can watch a conversation with Susanne and Julia on YouTube.