Faces of Hunger
Stories of the people you are helping.
Fighting a Different Fight
As so many of us prepare to celebrate our independence, keep in mind folks like Carroll who fought for our freedom and now fighting to make ends meet.
A United States Navy Veteran who spent many years serving our county. Carroll was an electronics technician for as long as he could remember. Since his time in the Navy, Carroll has struggled to find consistent income. Today, he has a very meager income and comes to the Food Bank to make ends meet.
Carroll claims through his experience, "Jobs aren't plentiful by any means; paying jobs are definitely not plentiful. I have to come to these distributions to keep me going."
Carroll's story is consistent with roughly 2,000 other local veterans who are considered food insecure.
A Way of Life
"Volunteering at the Food Bank of Lincoln for us is a privilege and a blessing. In the last few years, a much greater need of food for families and individuals has occurred in our community. More food, volunteers and money is required to meet the growing need. The Food Bank is successful in meeting the needs of the community. The Food Bank receives gifts both large and small and has a staff to help with more complex gifts. To volunteer where the purpose is so noble has been a way of life for our retirement."
Gene and Mary are two of hundreds of volunteers that allow the Food Bank of Lincoln to serve our hungry neighbors. Over the last 16 years, they have been dedicating two days a week to alleviating hunger.
We are grateful for Gene and Mary Osborn and many others who help us to alleviate hunger in Southeast Nebraska - with volunteer service, financial contributions and food donations.
Giving and Receiving
Shannon has been coming to food distributions for years. She started coming as a volunteer as a way to give back to the community.
After getting married, having children and enduring life circumstances, she is now coming to extend her budget. Shannon continues to volunteer each week, but she also goes through the line. She home schools her children and also baby-sits a couple kids to help make ends meet. Her husband also works full-time, but at the end of the month, "it doesn't always work out," said Shannon.
Make no mistake about it; Shannon will be attending a weekly distribution for as long as she can - mostly as a volunteer and occasionally as a food recipient.
Trying to Make Ends Meet
Vallary had been struggling to find employment for quite some time. She bounced from many part-time jobs, until she decided she should better herself and finally pursue a degree. Soon after she started toward her degree her husband left home. This left her with the kids to care for all on her own and her school bills. This only added to her continuing struggles to make ends meet.
She recently found work as a paid intern in the computer industry while working on her degree. But her minimal income is far from adequate and not meeting her family's needs.
Vallary says, "Times are tough and I don't have the experience many employers want. Plus I have little ones to take care of."
Even with food assistance from the Food Bank, Vallary is short at the end of each month.
"The Food Bank usually has pretty good stuff. And everyone in my family appreciates the help. Right now, we are searching for a little more help."
Vallary is not unlike many other friends of the Food Bank of Lincoln. She is in need of food and hope.
A Series of Hardship
John has spent the majority of his adult life working in the plumbing industry. In 2009, the company he had been with for years down-sized after finishing up with two large projects. Unfortunately, John was one of many let go. Luckily, John had been in the industry for quite some time, and met little resistance when it came to getting hired on with another plumbing company.
John spent roughly a year at his new employer before, they, like the previous employer, cut their staff. This time, it was much tougher for John to stay on his feet. Most businesses weren't hiring or looking to grow. So, John hit the road as a truck driver.
John drove truck for two years and saw nearly every part of the country. "Driving truck was peaceful, but it is not for me. I've been working hands on my entire life and I'm not the type who can sit behind a wheel and be comfortable. I want to see the work I'm doing and plumbing was that," stated John.
John recently decided to quit his driving job in hopes of finding another plumbing job. He has yet to find one and is now forced to be very cautious where to spend the little money he has left.
"It's not that I want to be here, I have to be. I wouldn't have much to eat otherwise. I know many people are in much worse situations than me, so I feel bad that I'm potentially taking food from somebody that may need it more than I," commented John.
Contrary to his belief, John's story is similiar to many others standing in line for food. Many looking for work, some working multiple jobs to make ends meet and too often, that's not enough.
John says, "I'm giving it another month to find employment in the plumbing industry. If I can't, I have no choice but to get back on the road."
John is the face of hunger.