Gwendolyn, Nina and Faith Share Their Stories of the Need for Access
People from all walks of life need help at one point or another, and Second Harvest Heartland serves all of them. Here are a just a few stories from individuals in our community that have reached out to Second Harvest Heartland and our agency partners to help overcome challenges with accessing enough healthy food.
Gwendolyn is a grandmother of three who is currently unemployed. She uses various produce drops and meal programs until she’s able to find a job that pays enough to not need assistance.
“It definitely helps. It makes a big difference; it stretches the food stamp dollars,” she said. “I’m looking for a job … so that maybe I wouldn’t have to go to the food shelf.”
Having access to the food she needs to stay healthy can be a challenge, but produce distributions like the one offered by Northpoint Health and Wellness help close the gap.
“It was really good. Everything that I got was fresh,” Gwendolyn said.
Fresh foods are important to Nina, a part stay-at-home mom, part working mother. The nonprofit she works for allows her to bring her daughter to work, so most days Nina is both at the same time.
During a period of time when her husband had lost his job, Nina faced a barrier to accessing fresh foods – money.
When both Nina and her husband are working, affording healthy food for their growing family can still be a challenge because other expenses often take priority over food. That’s why she and her family visit local produce distributions to get the food they need.
“We have faced rent and paying for gas and covering other bills, namely student loans, [dictating] how much we can spend on food,” Nina said, adding that visiting the Northpoint Produce Distribution helps: “It feels like when I would go pick up stuff when I was on getting a CSA, so there was more dignity, verses ‘you’re a nameless face.’”
Faith recently came to Minnesota from California in an effort to be closer with her son. She had been in the journalism business for thirty years, but now needs help making ends meet. Faith feels it’s important for people to understand that programs are available and individuals shouldn’t feel guilty about accessing them for help.
“[Food programs are] here to keep you from hitting rock bottom. Don’t be homeless. Don’t go hungry,” Faith said.
Having access to healthy foods is a large part of the help she needs.
“Having access to good food, to healthy food - fruits and vegetables, regular meals - is good not just for your physical health, but your mental health,” Faith said. “When you’re not sure where your next meal is coming from, wow.”