Linda and her family have been clients at the Northwest Tacoma Nourish Food Bank for about six months.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Linda says. “The people are awesome and so nice.”
She explains that she moved in with her youngest daughter a few months ago in order to save money on expenses and so she can help out more with her grandchildren. “There are eight of us here at the house. It’s been a good thing to move in together.”
Both she and her daughter work, but it is not enough to pay her household expenses. “We make too much to get food stamps, but don’t make enough to pay our bills and buy food.” She explains that, before she found the food bank that, “there were times when the kids did not have food in the cabinets. The grandkids are excited when I go because they know they can get something they like.”
The number of families like Linda’s are growing. According to a 2016 Pew Research study, there are 29 million people in the U.S. where three generations – a grandparent, an adult child, and a grandchild – all live in the same home.
Linda’s family is an example of an ALICE household. ALICE stands for “Asset-Limited, Income Constrained Employed.” It refers to households that have working family members who make enough that they are above the poverty line, disqualifying them from many types of state assistance. But, their incomes are still so low that they don’t make enough to pay all of their household expenses like rent, transportation, prescriptions, medical expenses, childcare, and food. According to the local United Way, 24% of households in Pierce County are ALICE households because of low wages and a high cost of living.
Linda appreciates that the food bank is open at a convenient time for her – she visits on Saturdays – and says the amount of food she receives is large. “We don’t go every weekend because we get enough that it gets us through a few weeks.”
Linda says she really relies on the food bank staff and volunteers. “It’s had a huge impact. I don’t know what I’d do without them.” It’s been huge relief for her family. “When the kids can eat, then everything is better.”