Help us tell your story. If you live in Ohio and volunteer for or receive food from a local emergency food assistance provider, please take a moment to tell us about your life. What brought you here? All stories can be published anonymously to protect your/your client's privacy. Simply click here and send it electronically OR write it down and send it to the address in the right hand corner at the top of this page. Thank you for your time. These are some of their stories.
K.C. has been coming to our food pantry on a regular basis since we opened 12 years ago. K.C. was married with 2 children when her husband decided to leave her for another woman. Her ex-husband has never paid child support, so she was a single mother in every way. After being alone for a few years K.C. met and married a man who is 13 years younger than her. Her husband wanted a family of their own, so they have now added 4 boys to their home. Because K.C. was older, she had complications with her last pregnancy and the child was born with a heart condition. There was no money for insurance, so the medical bills for this child's care added to their financial stress. K.C.'s husband worked at a local factory. Recently he has been laid off, and K.C. had to return to work. She has found a part-time job at a local market, making just over $500. a month. K.C.'s oldest son, from her first marriage has a severe learning disability and has not been able to find a job. He has, however, gotten married and they have a child. The three of them continue to live with K.C. K.C.'s oldest daughter has also had a child and they both live with K.C. There are currently 11 people living in K.C.'s home, and K.C.'s job at the local market is the only income.
Goldie is in her late 70's and lives with her 56-year-old son who receives an SSI check each month. She began coming to Hope Emergency many year's ago when it was called the Temple and stopped coming when she didn't need the extra help. She and her son have been able to survive on their own. Recently she had surgery and is just now able to get out of the house. Her reason for seeking help is one we hear often at Hope - she has had to assume care of her six grandchildren. Her daughter's husband left her with the six children, three of whom are preschoolers. Goldie's daughter had to send her children to live with her until she could support them. Goldie couldn't feed or clothe them all on her own so she came to Hope.
T.H. has been coming to the Freestore since 1996 but has not received services regularly in several years. When he returned, after moving back to this area, he was staying at the Drop Inn Center. While trying to find more suitable and stable housing, he began looking for employment. We assisted him with bus tokens and employment counseling. He continued to come in for tokens while looking for full time work. As of February, he found his own apartment, using most of his first month's pay for the deposit and first month's rent. We assisted him with food after he got moved in. He reports the job is going very well and that he believes he has an opportunity to move up to a management position at some point.
Tom, who lives in Seaman, Ohio, works for a roofing company. He has been out of work since January and has attempted to survive by using the resources in his area, of which there are few in his area of Adams County. A friend told him about Hope Emergency. He made the hour drive with friends from Seaman to get food to feed his family of five. His efforts to tell his story were punctuated by pauses to try not to cry while saying "I've never had to do this before." Tomís story is one often heard lately at Hope - the working poor out of work.
Charlie worked from the time he was 14 years old. He worked on farms. He laid pipe. Later he worked for a company that sub-contracted for a steel mill. He worked all the overtime he could to support his family, but never had the benefit of a good retirement plan. Now Charlie is retired and finds it very hard to live on a fixed income. Sometimes he doesn't have enough money to pay all his bills. That means Charlie often has to decide whether he should buy food, medications or pay the rent. It's a difficult struggle. Eating dinner four or five times a week at Oberlin Weekday Hot Meals helps him stay healthy and makes the money go a little further. "I'm trying to do the best I can with what I've got," said Charlie. "It would be pretty tough without the hot meals."
Alicia is seven years old. She does well in school, "...except for math," she says. It's difficult at times for Alicia to concentrate on her homework. That's because she is hungry. She and her brother, Tony, eat the free meals at school, but often there is not much food at home. Occasionally their mother gets a food bag from Lutheran Presbyterian Cooperative Ministries in Lorain. Alicia and Tony are very thankful for that because they both do better in school when there is food in the house. Alicia especially likes the cereal she receives. "I like it without milk," she said, which is helpful, because there is not always enough money in the house to buy milk. The Food Bank acquires and stores product recovery food items, then sorts, packs and distributes them to hunger assistance agencies - like Lutheran Presbyterian Cooperative Ministries - so Alicia and Tony's mom can pick up what she needs and take it home to her children.
Angela's husband, Nick, isn't around very much to be with his wife and sons, Andrew and Tommy. That's because he is working two temporary jobs around the clock to try to make ends meet. Nick has two other children to support from his first marriage and often the going gets tough. Nick is very tired and frustrated at the end of every month because it seems no matter how hard he tries, the paychecks don't often stretch that far. Angela hopes that Nick will find a better job soon. Angela is going to school part time to become a nurse, with assistance from Human Services. In the meantime, Angela, Nick, Andrew and Tommy depend on the food bag program at Care and Share in Sandusky to help them get by. "I feel bad about not having enough food for my family," said Angela. But she and Nick are very grateful to know they won't go hungry while they try to build a better life.
My name is Terry and I live in Meigs County in Southeast Ohio. I am married with four children and have worked for the mining company for many years. Last year we were given notice that the mines where shutting down and I was going to have to find another job or go back to school to be retrained. My unemployment is running out. I do not like to think I have to go ask for help to take care of my family. See, I have done a pretty good job, I feel right now that my life has been turned upside down. Just this past January, I know what I did was wrong and I feel for the decision that I made many times over. But, I needed to feed my family so I went and shot a deer out of season. And I was caught and now doing community service for the crime I did. I am not proud but I am not a criminal either. I was just trying to feed my family. I did not violate another person or steal. For years before us people lived off the land. And I know things are different today, but I was only doing what was natural in the beginning of time. I want people to know I would do it over if it meant that I could put food on the table for my family not to go hungry. Marilyn contacted me and has been very helpful in getting signed up for food stamps, something I have never had to do. But, with her help we have food in the cupboards and I am looking to find a good paying job, which in this area is hard to come by. Life can change over night and for my family it has. I want to thank the pantries that have helped us through this difficult situation. I never realized there were so many people that used the pantries and we are very grateful that they are there to help. I am not happy that my name was put in the local newspaper for getting a deer out of season. But, I can tell you that we did not go hungry.
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from the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks.