Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Malea, Randolph County
Living on a fixed income is never easy. Malea receives just $890 a month. “In June, my medications came to be $700. Now, once things with Medicaid get cleared up it should be less, but medicine will still be one of my biggest expenses,” she explains. “And my doctor tells me all the things I should be eating to make my medicines work right, but I can’t afford any of it.”
Malea gets $16 a month in food stamps. “For $16 can buy maybe three meals or keep milk in the house for a couple weeks. I have to decide which I am going to do with it. Can’t do both.” Malea says she purchases a lot of ramen noodles and canned pasta, but rarely can she afford fresh produce or meats. “Fresh stuff seems to be going higher and higher, and the pay rate is going lower and lower. Most of us feel stuck. All of us feel stuck.”
Donna is diabetic, as are a large number of the pantry clients at One Step Further, where she both volunteers and gets food. 33% of households seen by Second Harvest’s partner agencies have at least one member who is diabetic, and that rings true at One Step Further.
“I have to pay attention to salt and starch. Diabetics can’t just eat potatoes because they are cheap. We have to be careful. My sugar can go up just thinking about bills! So we have to be careful what we eat.”
For older adults, inadequate diets can contribute to or worsen disease and delay recovery from illnesses. “People come in here on oxygen. People come in here who are doing chemo. Lots of people come in on medicines. All of this stuff costs so much money. Nothing is free, so if we can help them out with food… then, well, that’s something,” says Donna.
Eric Aft, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank
“The problem of hunger in our communities is not so much a shortage of calories as it is a shortage of resources to secure more nutrient-rich options. People who are struggling financially are, understandably, often more concerned with quantity than quality. It is not all that uncommon to see people who are malnourished or poorly nourished also struggling with obesity.
At Second Harvest, we believe not only that everyone deserves to eat, but that everyone deserves to be able to access fresh, healthy foods to support a well-balanced diet and good health. That is why our growing partnerships with farmers and grocery retailers, such as Walmart, are essential to our work. They allow us to have a constant supply of nutritionally dense, healthy food to send out to our network.”
Learn more about how Second Harvest is feeding health through fresh food, cooking classes, nutrition outreach, and more here.