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Client Story: Norma & William

Categories: Blogs, Uncategorized

Magic spells, pumpkin carriages, and glass slippers are what fairy tales are made of, but in the real world, happiness looks something like this: two healthy people living as devoted spouses to one another and as loving parents to bright, beautiful, and happy children. For Norma, her real-life fairy tale had taken a tragic turn, as her husband William was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had a life expectancy of less than six months and was living out his last days under hospice care at home in the San Fernando Valley.

After receiving a call from the hospice on May 21, Project Angel Food put William on service right away. Breakfast bags were also arranged for Norma and the couple’s two young daughters, five-year-old Janelle and eight-year-old Marie. After all, the family deserved to spend quality time together without the stress or worry of where their next meal would come from.

Ninety-eight percent of Project Angel Food’s clients live at or below the poverty level, and many would choose to give their medically tailored meals to their children in order to keep them fed and nourished. That’s why Project Angel Food feeds the whole family, not just the client. In fiscal year 2018, Project Angel Food served 420,000+ entrees and 186,000+ breakfasts to clients as well as 25,000+ breakfasts to children living with clients. Of those children, 22 were four years old or younger and 73 were between five and 10 years old. Will you support us in providing meals to those who need it most?

On May 30, William unexpectedly passed away just nine days after coming on service. His family was left in complete shock.

Norma was unprepared both emotionally and financially for William’s passing. Not only was she dealing with the loss of her husband, the love of her life, but she also took on the role of a single parent. Imagine Janelle and Marie’s grief over losing their beloved father. How was Norma supposed to make ends meet amidst this tragedy?

Family is what keeps us centered and grounded during difficult times. Family is the support system that keeps us moving along and prevents us from hitting rock bottom. What would you do if your spouse or loved one passed away and you were left alone to take care of two young children?

When faced with difficult circumstances, oftentimes the hardest thing to do is ask for help. That is why Project Angel Food is continuing its service for Norma and her girls indefinitely. William had promised to always look after Norma and the girls, and even though he is now gone, he can rest in peace knowing his loved ones are being watched over by angels.

The day-to-day responsibility of raising young children as a single parent can be challenging. And during difficult times, it can be paralyzing. For William and Norma’s daughters, this was a life-altering event. With that in mind, Project Angel Food knew daily meals weren’t enough for Norma, Janelle, and Marie. They needed something more. They needed nourishment of the soul.

That’s why Project Angel Food invited Norma, her two girls, and 100 other Project Angel Food clients to the opening of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. The tickets were a gift from longtime supporter and actor Sharon Lawrence and the theater. The performance not only gave Norma and the girls some respite from their grief and sorrow, but it also showed them that life—in its own magical way—really can have fairy godmothers.

Please join us today in helping families like William, Norma, Janelle, and Marie. With a donation, you’re not only keeping bodies nourished and tummies full, you’re also granting a wish of love and hope during their darkest times.

Thank you for always being there.


Tom O’Leary
Manager of Client Services

P.S. Please take a moment to consider a gift. Any amount is deeply appreciated.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.