It’s Tuesday morning in Pittsburgh, and the temperature is just above freezing. Monique doesn’t care, though. She won’t let you see her shiver. There’s a reason that she’s out in the cold today: Feed the Children is holding a No Hunger Holidays drive to feed 400 families. Monique is here to pick up food, supplies, and books for her and her 3-year-old daughter, Sami.

Sami is an outgoing little girl who loves to meet new people. In Monique’s words, she’s “a little person with a big personality”. Her favorite food is fruit, and she’ll choose it over candy every time. But fresh produce is one of the hardest things to get when you’re on a budget.

Monique gets food stamps, but it’s still a struggle to put food on the table, especially around the holidays. She told us, “Sometimes food stamps aren’t enough. It goes in weeks, it doesn't even last a month. So this is good, because it’s extra food that you couldn't get with your food stamps or with the money that they give you.”

Monique is a determined mom. She stays at home to take care of her daughter, and when things are tough, Monique gets creative. In her words, “I’ll turn nothing into something.” She’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that Sami is taken care of, even waiting outdoors in the Pittsburgh winter to bring home boxes full of hope.

It’s 9:00 am, and box distribution is beginning. Monique isn’t going to lose her place in line. She wants to give Sami the best holiday possible, and she can’t wait to surprise her with Feed the Children boxes. But before she moves on, Monique gives us a big, beautiful smile.

“We really do appreciate y’all doing this. It’s a lot. And this means a lot to all of us.”