The Face of Hunger: Karen
She was a busy mom and special education teacher at a Minneapolis high school, until Karen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. Since her diagnosis, she has been unable to work and life has not been easy, especially last year.
“I’ve dubbed 2014 as the Year of Challenges, but I have a strong self-worth and I don’t give up and I haven’t.”
In addition to her own special needs, Karen is caring for her grown daughter—left blind in a car accident last year. Yet, Karen’s positive attitude is getting her through the tough times.
“I used to use the expression ‘I’m a survivor,’ but that’s not good enough. I want to thrive.”
Despite her illness, she chooses to work a couple of weekends a month at the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery—a natural place for Karen.
“I’m basically maternal, and ever since I started working in special education with Minneapolis Public Schools, I’m now a caregiver. I have business cards made up that say ‘Caring Karen.’”
But with minimal income, a mortgage and medical needs to pay for, food is not always at the top of the list for Karen. Her weekly trips to her local food shelf are a necessity, and just a nice place to go.
“The food shelf—it’s a community. You look forward to seeing people there. Sometimes you see them more than your own family.”