This is the true story of a young 12-year-old, Jessie Angeleone. This story inspired Jessie Angeleone to join efforts with others, to start Angeleone and its mission to help feed and educate. The story took place in 1976.
The courtyard was filled, as the private school kids, in their pressed uniform, lined up for lunch. As they gathered around in their groups and their cliques, Jessie stood in the corner -- not wanting to draw any attention -- she had been hoping for leftovers once the big group of students had eaten.
It was a dreary, rainy afternoon, and Jessie stood in the cold with hand me down clothes -- a thin fabric outfit, a worn-out sweater, sown with patches at the elbows to cover the holes, and a moccasin shoe with a big hole in the toe.
Young Jessie was just 12 years old. She waited quietly for everyone to get their lunch, and just observed what was going on around the courtyard that day. These two older girls, probably both around 15 or 16 years old, took a good condescending look at young Jessie and started talking and pointing fingers. They laughed as they went on and on about how ridiculous it was for this 12-year-old to wear shoes like that with holes in them! How could this person go out in public with worn out clothes with patched holes?!
Jessie was so ashamed, so heartbroken. She tried to cover the shoe hole and the mended fabric clothes. Jessie was blatantly aware of the state of these second-hand clothes. Actually, she had sewn shut the holes in the sweater with her own two young hands. Jessie had tried, to no avail, to improve the "holey" condition of those worn moccasins. Jessie's mom was hard working, but they were poor. Her mom worked tirelessly, but when she got sick and couldn't work, there was nothing to eat. The young Jessie experienced the pain of a life of deprivation daily. Yet, it was not the lack of new clothes that bothered Jessie most, nor the ongoing humiliation from those discriminating against her without truly understanding her story. The worst of all was living without food. The worst was going to school hungry -- going to bed hungry -- and not knowing where the next meal would come from, or if the next meal would even come at all. Jessie remembered one week in which 4 full days went by without any food. It was the most excruciating feeling. Hand me down clothes had been given, but food was scarce -- for those 4 days it was nonexistent. The next meal was as uncertain as the future. Now, as Jessie stood in the corner, facing the ridicule of those two teenage girls, she was consoled by the thought that once everyone left, the lunch lady would give away the leftover soup. She realized that eventually another pair of shoes and more clothing would come along, but at least this would be one meal she would not have to miss.
Years later, she overcame poverty. Jessie finished school, then college, then graduate school, then post-graduate school. In fact, Jessie started off working in that very same private school where those two teenage girls laughed and mocked her that day. Jessie rose to higher positions and eventually become the boss of those two teenage girls.
For those who have never experienced hunger before, this story seems like a far away event, from a different decade or a distant country. It is unimaginable that this story could be a present-day reality for other young boys and girls. The truth is, that stories like this one happen everyday, not just in third-world countries and in the past. These stories happen presently, even in developed countries. Kids are malnourished, they faint, they fall asleep in class, and they can't concentrate because they don't have enough food. Unfortunately, if there is no intervention and help, these young boys and girls might not be able to overcome their hunger and their challenges.
Students can't learn if they are hungry. If we fight poverty by feeding kids and providing them with an education, we are giving them the tools to create better futures for themselves and for generations to come. While this won't solve all the world's problems, it is certainly a start in the right direction -- Jessie in the holey shoes and patched-up sweater is a testament to that! Stories of overcoming hardship and making a difference are possible with food and education. Jessie Angeleone and others have joined efforts to create Angeleone. They are inspired by, and committed to, the mission of serving others and helping make the world a better place through food and education.
Angeleone's goal is to benefit others by providing high quality items for sale, and use part of those proceeds to help others with food and education. Be a part of something extraordinary, and leave a legacy! Don't walk alone, walk with Angeleone!