The reasons that drives individuals to accept our help are as diverse as the food that we grow in California. Sometimes, hardships arise for a small period of time – maybe a few months to half a year, but more than often the financial struggle extends to many years and in worst cases has no end in sight.
David has been coming to our public food distribution at the Paso Robles Housing Authority at Oak Park for several years. Without a car he has to rely on other methods of transportation which in his case is public transit. “On good days, the bus rides takes me about one hour round trip, but if I miss a connection, it can take up to two,” explains the 51-year old who had to leave his job to take care of his parents. His mom passed away two years ago, so now he looks after his dad who is in a wheelchair. The food he receives twice a month at our distribution feeds both of them.
Like many others in SLO County, the financial support David and his father receive from social services is not enough to cover their food supply for the month. “Most of the time we get to a point where we have about a week or more left in the month, but no more money to buy food,” he points out. His eyes moisten as he recalls growing up on a ranch in Paso Robles. “My dad worked as a ranch manager, but when laws regarding cattle transport changed the operation and caused a shut down, he was out of a job. Now we live in a small studio on a second floor which is especially hard with a wheelchair. I hope we can move to the new complex soon that is being built here where they offered as a unit on the bottom floor.”
Since diabetes runs high in his family, David relies on a healthy diet and appreciates the Food Bank’s focus on nutritious food. When asked if he tries the recipes that we sometimes provide at distributions to show people what to cook with the food they receive, he smiles again and says, “Oh, all the time! I can’t think of a favorite dish, but the salsa once was great.” Another time, he remembers receiving an exotic root vegetable called Jicama. Since he did not know what to do with it, he just ate it raw.
Hearing stories from people like David is the main motivator for the work we do here at the Food Bank. And on behalf of David we wanted to thank every single one of our donors and volunteers for their support of our mission. Without it, we would not be able to continue providing a vital safety net for those experiencing tough times. Because hardships and financial difficulties can happen to anyone of us at any time. As David put it, “All of us are just one bad decision away from needing help from others.”