"Daddy, Daddy! We get to eat today?"
Story from Laura, a WTFB truck driver:
John comes out here looking for work and things just haven’t worked out. People like him come up here sometimes bc it’s a food bank and we have rescue boxes, and my questions to people like him are always, “Do you have a stove? Do you have a refrigerator? Do you have children?”Because if there’s no stove, I go get some pull-tops. If there are children, I make sure they have milk and yogurt so they get their dairy products. So I helped him, and it ended up being 2 ½ boxes. He walked up the food bank, so I offered to drive him home. And I took him to his house and these 2 little kids, maybe 3 and 5, or 4 and 6, I’m not sure, come running to the door and said, “Daddy daddy! We get to eat today?”
And I just lost it. I had to leave so I wouldn’t cry in his house. Just seeing those two little kids- my heart just broke.
"They keep cutting my hours."
A single, childless man in his mid- to late-30s wearing a repairman's uniform walked in to our Alpine branch looking for an emergency food box.
"I have a job," he said. "It's just, they keep cutting my hours."
"Eat really good now."
Story as told to WTFB from the Greater Works Partner Agency:
A couple came into Greater Works on a Monday very, very hungry. They had not eaten anything but beans, and that had been two days prior. We told the wife she did not have to wait until the regular distribution day to get a box of food, she and her husband could have it immediately, and she began to shed tears of gratitude.
Here’s the twist in this story: this couple used to be regular, loyal volunteers at Greater Works; now here they were, needing our services themselves.
For the last six months the couple had been riddled with health nightmares. The husband had to be hospitalized six times and the wife once; she, treated for severe depression that was brought on by all the ongoing stress, medical bills, failing health of her husband and lack of food.
This couple’s monthly income is $1,700. It's $1500 just to buy their medicines—one medication alone is over $1,000-- and they only qualify for a few dollars of SNAP (formerly called food stamps) benefits. (FYI: The average senior citizen only qualifies for about $20 a week* in SNAP benefits.)
Knowing this couple was in an emergency situation, the Partner Agency staff gave them extra food. The wife had tears in her eyes when she said, “Boy, we can really eat good now!”
* State Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Eligibility and Participation Among Elderly Individuals Final Report September 28, 2010 Karen Cunnyngham
"You know, you can't always tell when people are hungry."
A retired doctor, now volunteering at a local clinic, told the WTFB, “You know, you can’t always tell when people are hungry. I had a patient come in who was losing weight. He was an old cowboy who was in pretty bad shape from all the falls and bone breaks he’d suffered through the years and he was no longer able to work. I started talking to him and it turned out he had sold all his furniture, his TV, everything he could for money and now he was literally going hungry. My point is, you might think someone is just losing weight and never know that they are starving.”
"When we offered her a food box she was surprised."
As told to WTFB from Greater Works Partner Agency:
We had a woman come in looking for help for her 21-year old daughter. The daughter had a history of severe, debilitating seizures and this particular time had suffered one so severe, she now had permanent brain damage, cuts all over her body from surgery and significant medical needs.
Her mother came in after spending many months in the hospital with her child looking for help from us at Greater Works. We loaned her a hospital bed, a potty chair, a wheelchair and more.
When we offered her a food box she was surprised, she didn’t know she qualified for food! She happily took one. Since her daughter uses a feeding tube and only every once in a while can get off it to eat soft items, we put some pudding, Jello and crushed fruit.
The mom reported back her daughter loved it.
"They paid their bills."
Just now, just today I had a mother of small twin boys call me and say she’s totally and completely out of food in Winkler City. Even though our regular home delivery is not until next week we have someone in route right now to help her out.
Why are they all out of food? They paid their bills.
-Paula Nichols, Greater Works
"I fed the baby toast and butter."
Story from a WTFB staffer:
A young father, late 20s, and his wife and 13-month old baby came into the Alpine branch of the West Texas Food Bank to get an emergency box of food.
“I just started a new job,” the man said. “But, you know, I haven’t gotten my finances sorted out yet. I’m just trying to make it up the ladder. I know everyone is struggling, but it’s hard out there. We are down to nothing. Before, we could scrape together food, but now our shelves are empty. I fed the baby toast and butter today. She ate four pieces. I didn’t have anything else to give her.”
"Going out of my mind."
Today a middle-aged woman came in for an emergency food box. She said she started her own house cleaning service and was doing fine...until the holidays hit.
"Then all my clients were like, 'See you in 3 weeks!'" She said. "And now here I am, going out of my mind."
Remember: hunger is year-round. $1 = 4 meals!