When coronavirus hit, many found themselves without the essentials, like food, water, and toilet paper. Soon enough, one mother from Massachusetts struggled to feed her daughter, who has autism. Thankfully, her local community soon banded together to help!
Living With Autism Is Not Easy
Before she had her daughter, Crystal MacDonald from Attleboro, Massachusetts, preferred a nice home-cooked meal. However, after giving birth to Ashlyn, everything changed. Because of her autism, Ashlyn finds it hard to eat most foods. When the COVID pandemic hit the United States, Ashlyn only wanted to eat the canned spaghetti product, SpaghettiOs and Meatballs. While she met with countless teachers and therapists, who worked to make the girl's palate a bit more inclusive, little helped. As the pandemic continued on, things went from bad to worse…
"Couldn't find SpaghettiOs anywhere," Crystal said. "It's like they were there one day and the next they were gone." She had no idea why people grabbed just SpaghettiOs all of a sudden – before the pandemic, shelves were filled with the item. "I don't know if people thought, like, if the world ended you could survive on SpaghettiOs – I just know that I was losing my mind trying to find them," she said.
SpaghettiOs for Days
When Crystal confided in a few friends about her problem, she had no idea it would soon spread from local to local. With a month, the story ended up in the local paper, the Sun Chronicle, and the MacDonalds had a lot of help arrive shortly after. After the story ran in the Chronicle, people started coming and leaving full bags and boxes of SpaghettiOs, hundreds of cans, on Crystal's doorstep. The mother cannot express how much that means to her and her daughter.
"And if it wasn't for the kindness of people like that, we would not have gotten by," Crystal said. "When you have a child with special needs, their future is always in the back of your mind. Who's going to take care of them when I get old? And to see people come out and embrace us, gave me so much hope that they will love her and take care of her when I'm not here."
But the touching story does not end there! Eventually, Campbell's Soup Company heard about the story. Their response? Provide Crystal and Ashley with a year's worth of SpaghettiOs and Meatballs. That's right! "That is such an incredible gift for my daughter and for us," the mother responded. "This will bring so much joy and relieve so much stress. This is an amazing blessing and I can't express my gratitude enough. I don't have enough words."