Think back to the time when you were a child. Life was less complicated then, for most of us. Occasionally your parents or grandparents had talks with you about life. Your mother, father, grandmother, teacher may have spoken to you about sex, money, God, doing right from wrong, not stealing. These talks were important.
Well, now you are an adult with your own life. Consciously or unconsciously, these talks shaped you and influence you to this day. The reality is that the person who took the time and effort to make you a successful adult may now be in need of a talk. It is entirely possible that this older person is quietly doing without the food necessary to lead a healthy life.
Why is this happening? Well, the answer may be easy. There are simply more days in the month than money. Many seniors in our country have outlived their pensions, savings, ability to hold down a job. The statistics tell us that one senior in seven does not get enough to eat. One way seniors can be helped is with SNAP.
1. 50+ seniors are eligible for SNAP. If you are a senior, please apply for these benefits your taxes have paid for. You worked all of your life, paid your taxes, contributed to the economy. It is now time for you to benefit from all of the contributions you made throughout your life..
2. SNAP helps you pay for the food you need to live a healthy life. When you eat healthier food, you can prevent and control some chronic health issues. This will lower your medical bills.
3. With SNAP you’ll have more $$$ each month.
4. SNAP is a debit card which offers you privacy. If you don’t want anyone to know that you receive SNAP, they won’t.
5. When you use SNAP, you are benefiting your community. You are bringing $$$ into your local economy which helps farmers, grocers, and local businesses.
6. When you receive SNAP, you are not taking $$$ away from someone else who might need it more. There are enough SNAP benefits for everyone.
7. Contact your local Department of Social Services Office to apply for SNAP.
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“Everything tells us that children who grow up in poverty are much more likely to be adults in poverty.” – Peter Edelman
The flier came in the mail last Tuesday – reminding me that, once again, school is starting. Immediately I thought of pantry shoppers everywhere struggling to get the kids ready for school.
I remembered my own childhood with my mother
sewing my school clothes
buying new shoes – saddle oxfords
buying sweaters and a coat
filling a special kitchen cabinet with school lunch snacks
taking me to the local Ben Franklin store with a list of needed school supplies.
2015 is sooo different! All the households I know are now:
scrounging for any and all free hand-me-down school clothes they can find
checking around to find out who has free school supplies to share
connecting with the schools to see if there will be any backpack programs and how school breakfast/lunch programs will be managed at their children’s school this year.
And, all the while, the parents are holding down 2 and 3 jobs. And, invariably, in the midst of all this activity, the car will break down…
Invisible almost, children come with their parents to shop at the pantry weekly for food. These children are beautiful, alert, intelligent. These children are so well behaved in the line and in the pantry. How they stand in the line with their parents/grandparents all that time every week and remain well behaved, I’ll never know. They come for a three-day supply of food which must last seven days. Shopping in a pantry usually takes a couple hours minimum.
As more and more household members work more and more hours at minimum wage jobs to pay more and more money for rent and gas to get to the jobs, more and more families appear in pantry lines. Every time I see a child in the pantry, I’m grateful for the efforts pantry volunteers make to get the most nutritious food they can find and bring back to the pantry.
This is especially important because many pantry families live in food deserts and have no supermarket nearby. People are forced to shop at a:
gas station food mart,
Sometimes the hungry simply can’t afford the prices in upscale grocery stores and supermarkets.
One household of 4 came weekly to the pantry. The children, Robert and Mikey, came with their parents Richard and Jamie. We all smiled when the Allens arrived at the pantry. Rich drove in with Robert riding shot gun in a bright chartreuse repurposed ambulance which still had the sirens.
Jamie arrived in a 22-year-old red Ford pickup with a black camper top which Richard and Robert kept going.
helped assemble the food for the take out bags
helped pack the take out bags
assisted the older and infirm shoppers
was loved by everyone
stood outside the building as the pantry opened
supervised the parking lot to keep the chaos to a minimum
managed the hallway
knew the stock in the storeroom
made sure the shoppers had help getting their food to cars
made friends with everyone in the shopper line
stood in the pantry room when the shopping line was overcrowded
was always on the lookout for anything which might upset the flow of people into the pantry
taught Robert to break down the used cardboard boxes
taught Robert to haul groceries out to the cars
Richard didn’t teach Robert to climb to the top shelf in the storeroom to retrieve much needed items. Robert learned that on his own.
Robert, 10, loved food…any kind of food. Whenever Robert wasn’t otherwise occupied, helping out in the pantry, he came to the pantry room and ate anything that didn’t eat him first…raw.
Mikey, 5, was never unhappy or trying to get into trouble. Mikey wanted nothing more than to help out in any way possible. Of course, being 5, Mikey invented ways to help if we didn’t give him direction. All in all, he was a gift to the pantry, smiling and greeting everyone who shopped. For many, this was transformational.
Mikey was therapy.
Children are important in a pantry. It’s estimated that 25% of the people receiving food at pantries are children. Hungry children experience more learning difficulties and more illnesses than their well nourished classmates.
If you can, a donation of food or school supplies to a nearby pantry will be extremely helpful.
Thank you for reading this blog. The stories are true. The people are real.
Thanks for your patience. I won’t be publishing articles on this blog quite as frequently while I work to get the reflexology book ready for the publisher.
Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.
Don’t forget to join the email list.
Peace and food for all.