It's been a rough year for Lisa Castellucci.
"I didn't know how bad things had gotten until I could see how good things are now," she said.
Her husband, David, says they were at rock bottom.
"I look back and say 'Thank God!' You know because, I thought we were going to lose our house!" he said. "I thought we were going to lose everything."
They'd already lost their family business when CBS News first met them in March. David had been out of work for months, and they were tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and looking to the government for help, CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports.
"I mean, it was humbling for me to get food stamps - humbling. I thought only really poor people needed food stamps. And then I started realizing, 'well, I'm a really poor person,'" he said.
They learned to rely on the kindness of strangers. There are nights they would have gone hungry without donated groceries from the Cape Ann Food Pantry.
But David finally landed a job -- as a photocopy repairman. And coupled with frugal living, it has allowed him to pay off all their debt.
"I'm enjoying it and I'm working hard and I'm paying my bills. To me, that's the American dream," he said.
Now that the Castelluccis are finally able to feed themselves, they want to give something back, making cookies for the same food pantry they used to go to for help.
Whey are they doing it?
"Because there are people out there what are even poorer than us … and we're doing like to give back to the food pantry," said David and Lisa's 8-year-old son, Isaiah.
Demand is up at the pantry 20 percent in the last three months - and any help is welcome.
While there will not be much under the tree this year, the Castelluccis know what matters most.
"Everything passes away after a while: every toy breaks, everything goes out of style," Lisa said. "But our family, we're not going to go out of style … hopefully we'll always have each other."
It was a lesson this Christmas learned the hard way.
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