Real Stories of Hunger

Your Story: Lisa and Hannah
North Carolina

As the mother of six kids, Lisa has her hands full, especially since Hannah and her siblings were homeschooled at some point in their education.

As a homeschooler today, Hannah enjoys a full academic experience that includes field trips to local museums and aquariums. For Lisa, homeschooling means she has more control over her kids' education, and she can be a hands-on mom. Part of that, to her, means providing her kids with three healthy meals per day.

"I try to make sure that they get apples and your oranges and I make sure each child is at least excited over one type of fruit or one kind of vegetable," she explains.

Right now, the family's stove is broken, making it difficult to prepare meals at home. This disappoints Hannah, who likes to help out with the cooking and specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches.

For 20 years now, Lisa has owned and operated a rose peddling business, selling flowers in restaurants and bars in the evening. "It's allowed me to be home with my kids, during the day, a stay home mom," says Lisa. Despite the long nights of work, Lisa doesn't always make enough to fill the family's pantry.

Lisa enjoys coming to the food bank because the people she meets are "sweet, non-judgmental...very pleasant" and there's also always plenty of quality food to take home: "It's like it's Christmas day if you go in there and there's a big pot roast, like, I know what's gonna be for dinner."

"It's helped me in a transitional period," says Lisa, who's pursuing child support payments and is also considering a career change — counseling, to be exact, which would give her the flexibility she needs as a parent and a more reliable income.

While Lisa's only been visiting the food bank for about three months now, she's already looking ahead to better days for her family. Then, she says, she'll surely be back as a volunteer.

Hannah, too, is looking forward to helping out at the food bank. Until then, she's focused on her school work and practicing jazz dance. Though it's still many years off, college is clearly on her mind.

"I had $2 that was supposed to be my college fund," she says. "But then my mom needed money and asked to borrow it."

Lisa nods, remembering the $2 loan. She promises, she says, to pay Hannah back.

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