I had a great childhood. I didn’t grow up poor. I had health issues, but I didn’t have to ask for anything. We never fell through a crack. I used to think food stamps were for people that didn’t do things the right way.
Later in life, I fell through a crack. I had no control over what led to my disability. I realized that I had to grow up. You see, you never know when poverty will happen to you. You can’t predict the events that lead to it. Meanwhile, I’m six months pregnant and needed food for myself and my unborn child. I could either feel embarrassed about getting help, or I could stand up and make the best of the situation. Hunger Task Force came through with some food and formula to help me out. I applied for FoodShare, too. I didn’t want to “need” the help, but after my son was born I had to be able to shop at the grocery store to feed him.
My son is so innocent. But he’s growing up now and eating more. I don’t have enough to feed him and myself. When I get really hungry, I’ll eat his leftovers. When you are used to hunger, you can turn the feeling off easier. But it’s tough to get the energy to cook. You really just run out of steam and hit the wall. I sometimes wonder how I can keep feeding the bottomless pit that is my son’s stomach. It’s getting more expensive to keep him fed. One of the hardest things is that my son knows we’re poor. He has started pointing at items in the grocery store saying, “no, that’s expensive.” Probably because he’s heard me say it so many times.
I know a lot more now than I did when I was younger. But I never thought I would have to teach my child how to be poor.
I have a great community of people that support us. I volunteer everywhere I can. I want to be able to afford college. I want to be able to take the leap to the middle class, but I know there will be more meals to skip before something like that can happen.
I hope people will understand how deplorable it is to politicize hunger. It’s not clothes, jewelry or technology. It’s just food. I don’t think people should take food away over a political talking point.