Michelle Rose says staff at the Kelowna Community Food Bank have been a "huge, huge help" to her family.
Food bank staff "have been a huge, huge help to me and my family, going beyond what they needed to do to ensure we had what we needed," the 36-year-old mother of four said this week.
"They've always been extremely helpful. Their school program, School Snacks, is amazing - always nutritional - and the food in their hampers is always nutritional. All round, they've been really, really supportive."
Nine months ago, Rose was suddenly in excruciating pain. Emergency room doctors found her left kidney was trying to pass a kidney stone, but it became lodged in the exit tube.
During emergency surgery, they discovered her right kidney had a kidney stone twice as big. It was broken into pieces with shock therapy at Vancouver General Hospital on Nov. 22.
However, her kidney swelled as one of the pieces passed. An extra two days in Vancouver took her Christmas money.
"I've also had a lot of dental issues all my life, so I've struggled with a lot of pain. Because I'm on income assistance, I only have emergency dental coverage. So they will only extract one or two at a time - seven or eight so far," she said.
During her last visit, the top broke off a tooth and the dentist discovered five had roots so deep that they can't be surgically removed. The Ministry of Children and Family Development doesn't pay for partial dentures, only full plates, so she's hoping the rest can be extracted in the next few days. Otherwise, it could be January.
All of that was happening at the same time as the kidney surgery.
She's currently looking for a new place to stay while living with a girlfriend. She hopes to find a place in time for Christmas with her children: Justine, 14, Isaac, 12, James, 11, and Evan, 8. She has applied for a Salvation Army hamper to get her through the holidays.
You can Be an Angel by donating at The Daily Courier, online at kelownadailycourier.ca or at any branch of Valley First Credit Union. The campaign supports Okanagan food banks and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.