Updated: Aug 30, 2019
But it wasn’t long ago that a major heart attack that turned Chuck’s life upside down. Unable to work the long hours he had been putting in as an emergency dispatcher, he and his wife moved back to the small North Carolina town where Chuck grew up, into the house his grandfather had built.
Needing to support his family as he always had, Chuck accepted the first job he found -- for a humbling wage of $7.50 an hour. Minimum wage does not make ends meet in the United States: Especially not for a family with three children.
Chuck and his family turned to a local food pantry for help. “It was difficult at first, but I started seeing other families I recognized,” he said, “and began to realize that old stereotypes I held about those who need help simply weren’t as they seemed.” He realized that his situation was difficult but not unique-- many people in his small town were in similar situations to his.
It wasn't much, but the few extra bags of groceries made the difference for Chuck and his family so they did not have to choose between keeping the mortgage paid, the heat on, or the children fed. Help with food allowed Chuck and his wife to move their small income to other basic needs without jeopardizing the health of their family.
“Slowly, we began to get our feet back under us,” he said. “Things still aren’t easy though.”
Between work, family and illness, Chuck manages to volunteer with his daughter Clarissa at the local food pantry every month. As with many of the pantries that Second Harvest supplies food to, it was run by volunteers, many of whom are also clients. “I hope that she learns, like I did, that we all need to help each other sometimes," he says of his daughter.
Learn more about our work, and how to get involved, at secondharvestnwnc.org or by following us on social media.