The Face of Hunger: The People Behind the Numbers
The face of hunger is not what some people might expect. Many people seeking food assistance in Minnesota and western Wisconsin have jobs, raise families, work toward education and live with health problems—like many of us. Unfortunately, our clients also have to make difficult trade-offs to get enough food for their families.
Meet some of the people who are struggling with hunger. They have unique experiences, hard decisions to make, and stories to tell.
Jeff: A Balancing Act
Jeff is 51 years old and has worked his entire life, until last winter when his desire to complete a job outside in dangerously cold conditions cost him his health.
“I was working into the middle of the night, trying to get something done and I severely frost bit my feet. The doctor said the damage could last a year, two years, or even the rest of my life,” said Jeff.
So he found himself with no job, and no way to pay the bills. Jeff says because he owned a house and a car, finding help was hard to come by.
“There was a year of having almost no income — you’re making decisions all the time of which bills to pay. It’s a big balancing act.”
It came down to deciding whether to pay the mortgage or buy food. That is, until he found out about Second Harvest Heartland and the food shelves it supports.
“It’s a hard situation where you’re used to making enough money to cover everything and not having any of these problems. Then you have to go change, it’s a hard thing to do,” he said.
Jeff said his experience has given him an entirely different perspective.
“You don’t think of it when you have the money, and you’re going to the store. A box of cereal—that’s $4. At the foodshelf, they have cereal so that saves me $4—that’s a gallon of gas to get me to two doctor’s appointments. It’s like a Rubik’s cube—you try to get all the colors on one side; it never seems to happen but you try to get as close as you can,” said Jeff.
Read more stories of hunger and hope here.