In just a short period of time, my family went from Whole Foods to the food pantry. My husband and I never thought we'd end up needing a food pantry — why would we? We both had college degrees and came from middle-class backgrounds. We'd never been in need before. But a series of uncontrollable setbacks put us in a situation where we had to ask for help.
We took our first hit from the LA writer's strike back in 2007. My husband was a successful video game writer at the time, but when writers were inhibited from writing for TV, they flooded the video game industry. Then the recession hit, and we lost our stability completely. What little work was left was eliminated — for my husband and me as a freelance grant writer.
At first, we thought our lack of employment would be just a bump in the road. But then two years passed without us having any income at all. We used up our savings and we were forced to start thinking about our options. I remembered a food pantry — served by Los Angeles Regional Food Bank — I used to send volunteers to when I was working for a nonprofit.
When I showed up one morning, to say I was intimidated would be an understatement. But the staff and volunteers were so supportive, and having food took a huge load of my shoulders. As I looked around, I saw many of the people there were just like me — facing the same situation. It helped me realize that in our struggle, we were not alone.
It's been years, but now I can safely say we are on our way up. My husband got a full-time job at a local nonprofit, and I've been interviewing. The most important thing though, is that our kids are doing great. The food pantry had something to do with that I think. It provided us with some certainty during an uncertain time. When we knew nothing else, we knew we would have dinner- and that gave us the strength we needed to keep pressing on.
Watch Nikki's story below.