Kelly is like many members of her generation. She works two jobs and has a difficult time making ends meet.
Unlike many others, Kelly is not only supporting herself but also her mother and father, and is helping put her brother through college.
“At the end of every month – when my bills are paid and their bills are paid – I may have as much as $30 left,” Kelly says. “Without the food bank we’d be in so much trouble.”
Food is but one consideration for the 40-year-old landscaper. Her mother suffers from lymphoma and lives in a house with no electricity (heat is from a wood stove). Her father has Alzheimer’s disease. And we’ve all heard what a burden tuition bills can be.
“I’m making it this way,” Kelly says of her trips to the food bank, “I’m lucky, this is helping a lot.”
Kelly says she focuses on meats and dried beans to create stews that can last up to a week. On her food bank trips she also admits to picking up two of her guilty pleasures – mac and cheese and cereal. Those are two items she would otherwise forego in order to provide for the rest of her family.
Kelly says she had tried other food banks in the past but she found Nourish Pierce County to be uniquely welcoming.
“I’m actually allowed to be a person here,” she says. “I get smiles and feel I’m treated with dignity.”
At other agencies she says she was grilled about her income which she admits may look too high for nutritional aid until one takes into account her other responsibilities.
She is quick to smile and announce that her brother will graduate from college soon. Once that financial load is lifted, she is ready to give back to those who helped her.
“It’ll get easier, then I can pay some of it back,” she says. “I’ll volunteer for the food bank, do repairs or landscaping or whatever they need.”
-Chris Fruitrich, retired journalist and food bank volunteer