Hunger Study Perspective
March 23, 2009 § 2 Comments
VP, Community Programs
Shares her experience from a recent Hunger Study visit —
“The drive from my home in Dripping Springs to Johnson City is one of my favorites. The beautiful hill country gives the illusion that all is right with the world. Johnson City reminds me of home in many ways, with its little shops and friendly people. But within this small town there is an unseen population – people living week-to-week on limited income, choosing between paying rent and buying food.
Like many of the small towns in our service area with food insecurity problems, Johnson City has great needs with few resources. The Ministerial Alliance is run by one family, Betty and Jerry Charniak, and their son, Jeffrey, and is open one day each month. CAFB partners with the Johnson City Housing Authority to bring the “Wheels of Sharing” Mobile Food Pantry to provide much-needed food and food stamp outreach support to their community.
As I conducted client interviews for the 2009 “Hunger in America” study (the largest nationwide study on hunger in the United States), I heard stories from senior citizens living day-to-day and surviving on the generosity of others. My interviews in Johnson City showed me the needs of elders living on a limited income. One morning, I conducted interviews during the Mobile Food Pantry distribution. Of the 77 families served, only 2 were not of age to receive social security benefits.
I believe hunger is unacceptable. I also believe hunger among our elderly is even more so. Many of the elderly people I’ve met and interviewed have limited access to public services such as free lunches, low-cost medical care or even transportation to get it if it were available. They often lack the emotional and familial support necessary to be as happy and fulfilled as they could be, and to me, that’s unacceptable. With each “thank you” as these seniors take their bags of food, I can’t help but wonder what they did before our Food Bank came along. I thank God I have a job that allows me to get food to people who need it. When I see these faces of hunger and poverty, I ultimately wish my job wasn’t necessary.”