Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lifeline For A Senior In Need

By: Marie Jachino
Executive Director
Elk Grove Food Bank Services

After nearly 50 years of marriage, Mary had a hard time remembering what her life was like before she became a wife and mother. But several years ago, Mary’s husband passed away. Not only has she had to deal with the pain of losing her lifelong companion, she had to learn to live on her own again after 50 years of marriage. Her only income is Social Security and a very small retirement check. She’s in good health right now, but over the years she’s survived cancer, a heart attack and a stroke. She still has difficulty walking. But living on a fixed income makes it nearly impossible to pay utility bills, medical expenses and buy groceries each month. That’s why Mary stops by my office each time she visits the Food Bank to tell me how grateful she is for our Senior Brown Bag Program, USDA and Emergency Food Box.

Note: For seniors on fixed incomes, the free food from the food bank programs can be the difference between eating and going hungry. When money is tight, many seniors cut back on food in order to pay for their rent, utilities and prescriptions. Most seniors who visit the food bank are on fixed incomes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So Many In Need

I spent yesterday out of the office with clients, Erin and Mary. They come in about twice a month for food and bottled water to share with their dogs. These ladies and their three small dogs are homeless. They’ve been living on the streets of Elk Grove in their car for the past seven months—moving from parking lot to parking lot, looking for a safe place to stay.

I enjoy talking with both Erin and Mary and feel like we are friends. They have both touched my life and made my hectic day more enjoyable. My hectic day doesn’t even hold a candle to some of the obstacles our clients face. I really can’t even begin to imagine how they feel, but I want you to take a journey with me and see in future writings what they go through.

I spent time with a few more people. Linda and her son were signing up for food for the first time. He was holding a box of cereal—clutching it to his chest as though it was a prized possession. I’m sure to him it was.

Kay is HIV positive and a recovering addict. She kept talking about her cat being her only friend and told me about her recent birthday she spent alone.

There were so many stories that moved me and I found myself exhausted last night. But as I laid there in bed thinking about all those less fortunate in our community I had a good feeling knowing that we do our best every day at the Food Bank to help so many people in need.