Luciana's Story

As a donor, you’re a member of our community and we want to introduce you to Luciana:

In a moment of distress that seemed like it might result in an outburst of emotions, a calm hush embraced the entire room.

Tensions can run high on a Saturday morning at our Despensa De La Paz food center when community members carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders worry that there might not be enough to go around. Our community of shoppers, volunteers, and staff are skilled at calming these tensions and extending empathy–we’ve all been there.

But today was different. The wave of peace that washed over the room was stunning. The source of this powerful transformation was a small yet strong woman, not yet 40 years old but wise beyond her years, evident in her ability to calm a whirlwind of emotions in a moment.

Luciana, now well-known for her gift of peace-making, has become a fixture of our community. Curious to know more, she shares her story with us in her native Spanish and the English she has learned over the last three months.

A humble bakery clerk in Milwaukee, Luciana is a skilled wedding dressmaker from Peru, where she was deeply involved in nurturing relationships in her neighborhood. As the threat of gang violence grew in her home country, Luciana made the courageous decision to gather her 3 children in her arms and come to be with family in Milwaukee.

Here, the tensions were different. Luciana and her children shared cramped quarters in a small apartment with extended family. Feeling like a burden, bringing groceries home helped her family, and cooking gave her a way to contribute in lieu of rent while she looked for work.

The same peaceful persistence she brings to our pantry community has helped her quickly get back on her feet. She’s found work that has allowed her to move her family into a small yet joy-filled home on Milwaukee’s South Side.

Like bringing together all the details of a wedding dress and patiently stitching them together into a gown that brings beauty and hope to a bride on her special day, Luciana comes to stitch together our community by helping translate, volunteer, and organize neighbors around meaningful activities. Through simple acts of kindness and hospitality, like sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with friends and strangers as they wait for their turn to shop, she nourishes her own sense of purpose while nourishing others with hope.

We share Luciana’s story as an example of the power of building community through nourishment. We also share her story to celebrate the impact that your support has on our community.

Kindest Regards – Sophia