Greenville, SC
The last thing I ever thought would happen to me is becoming a single parent. Even more I never thought I would struggle with something taken so much for granted as a good meal, or even one to fill on. I haven't even gotten to a third sentence and I can not stop the tears. For the past two days my son and I have lived on apple sauce and butter spaghetti noodles. We have been sharing our last bit of drink mix together. Food has been the biggest struggle I have faced raising my son over anything else. Even when we have money or the ability to purchase food it's still too expensive to buy all the things that make the kind of meals every kid deserves to experience in their childhoods. We have a better chance of survival by visiting a dollar menu of the most unhealthy types of foods. I have reached out to so many organizations. I have graduated from parent programs, employment readiness programs, all voluntary. My son is autistic his name is Caden and he is 10. Because of this I have not been able to work since February 2014 when I lost my job from The Geek Squad at Best Buy which I maintained over two years before the company could no longer accommodate for all the many special circumstances they made for me as a single parent. Caden's special educational placement limits me from doing anything without him outside the hours of 8 am to 2 pm, and that's if I have time to walk home and be here before his bus arrives at 2:15-2:45pm. I have reached out and my own family has done very little for us. I told my own mother a few days ago we had no food and that we had not eaten and she calls my brother. My brother sends me information on three food pantries all very far away and one had a Toyota dealership as its number. Grant we still have had very little to eat since then and this is our support group. We live on SSI for Caden's disability and $127.00 a month food assistance. Caden and I lived in the Greenville Rescue mission a local shelter for seven months until recently a HUD home opened for us. We moved in last month. With our rent and utilities our benefits only went up twenty dollars. We receive 733.00 a month in SSI and 127.00 food. Rent is 450.00' water was almost 80 for the month even though we barely use it and electric 68. We ran out of food the second week of the month and I had not purchased a single snack or sweet product. Summer is coming so now I have breakfast and lunch to squeeze in our budget. I believe many take advantage of the system in place to counter hunger but for people like Caden and I this issue is very real. I feed my son before me and I have never felt so hungry so many days ongoing as I have the past two months. At least in the shelter we had full meals. We can not even afford to have the kind of meals served in a homeless shelter in our own home. Since my sons mother left 9 years ago I had done everything from Dj, bounce at night clubs, clean yards, security officer for the local hospital, and held respected positions over the years. So I am not just some guy that let it all go. The way society is becoming forced us in to the life style we currently live. I am just one voice but if even one important person reads this and decided to do something this struggle is real and is not only happening to the lazy or ones intentionally seeking to take advantage of the system. I want to work, I want to give my son a better life, and I surely do not want to ever watch my child go hungry. Please do not overlook this issue if even one of my many tears counts let it count for some real good to humanity.

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