Michelle grew up on a farm in Iowa that had been in her family since the first land rush. Her childhood should have been idyllic: wilderness to explore, animals to take care of, food to grow and eat. But her family struggled, and Michelle’s mom worked three restaurant jobs just to get by.
Their meals were usually leftovers Michelle's mom brought home: pizza, chicken and donuts. It occasionally got worse than that, “There were times we ate sprinkles. We were like, ‘OK, this is what’s in the cupboard’. That’s what we’d eat.”
In early 2013 Michelle began to realize that the bad eating habits she had formed as a girl were starting to take a toll on her health. Around the same time she found out that she’d be losing her job. She felt hopeless, not knowing how to address her health concerns after losing her income. To help cover the margins she decided to apply for WIC. Through the program she learned about Cooking Matters at the Store, and the promise that it could teacher her to shop and cook healthy on a budget.
Michelle says that taking the tour was like a light illuminating a hidden room; a room that held healthy meals for her family that she could actually afford and prepare herself. Entering that room changed her life. She shared how this realization has made her want to help others as well. “There’s a misconception I want to kill, I always thought that it was cheaper to be overweight, that it was cheaper to buy processed foods, but it’s not.”
Since taking the tour, she has lost 108 pounds. She has also shed decades of bad habits and ensured a lifetime of healthy eating choices for her three-year-old son.
Today, Michelle is the manager of a Le Creuset store in Silverthorne, Colorado that supports No Kid Hungry. Because she wants to ensure that no kid goes hungry like she did, she and her staff raised more money than any other store in the company in an organization-wide bake sale competition. Michelle is a passionate No Kid Hungry champion, educating other families who might benefit like she did from this program.