With her husband unable to work due to a disability, Heather relies on St. Edward Food and Wellness Center in Providence, a member agency of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, to pick up food, especially for her young children. “[The people at St. Edward] are amazing, providing help to so many. I am so thankful for what I get here for my family,” she says.
Heather’s family receives government assistance, but it’s not enough to cover their expenses through the month, especially with rents and utilities so high. The cost of food and clothes for their growing children absorbs much of their income.“The kids eat a lot. They’re growing. I would never let them go without. I want to give them what I didn’t have.”
Last summer, Heather and her family struggled without utilities. Although they paid their rent faithfully, their landlord had not been covering the gas and electric bills and they suddenly found themselves without power or hot water. Heather walked to her friend’s house to fill water bottles and brought them home in a pushcart. She received legal and financial assistance to get her utilities turned back on, and, fortunately, now has a landlord who takes care of the bills and the property.
A Providence resident her whole life, Heather knows what it means to not have enough food. “When I was little, we went to bed hungry. People just don’t understand. We don’t have the resources, especially toward the end of the month, so we rely on these agencies.” Growing up, Heather’s family struggled because they didn’t have a food bank and there wasn’t a network of resources available to help them.
She doesn’t ever want her kids to go hungry, so she appreciates the resources provided by St. Edward and other agencies. “No matter what they have, you’re walking away with food for your family. You’re walking out with something you didn’t have before.” Even with benefits and the pantry at St. Edward, Heather still struggles with food shortages that affect her whole family.
She is thankful and grateful for the assistance she receives and she knows that there are good people helping out at the Food Bank and its member agencies. They provide food out of caring and compassion for others.
As she explains, “You have to love to feed someone.”
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