Client Story: Valerie
At 58, Valerie is retired and a full-time caregiver to her loved ones. She’s also trying to make ends meet. To help cut back on her grocery bill, she grows some produce at home, like tomatoes, but finds that she still needs help every once in a while.
“I never was really hungry,” she said often living off of inexpensive, unhealthy foods, “but soon I started running out of money and thought ‘Oh, God, I have to eat.’”
That’s when Valerie started visiting her local food shelf. At first she was embarrassed about needing to ask for help, feeling the stigma that many individuals experience, but the support of the food shelf and staff at Second Harvest Heartland helped make the experience of reaching out a positive one.
“If I hadn’t gotten help and guidance, I wouldn’t have tried again. Then I don’t know what I would have done,” Valerie explained. “I might have had to borrow money from someone and who knows how that would have gone.”
Today, Valerie is living off of her life savings and accessing resources available in the community to get the healthy food she needs to feel good.
“I feel better when I eat healthy foods; I know I’m not putting junk in my body,” Valerie said, appreciating the healthy options that her local food shelf is able to offer.