I’ve provided for myself throughout my life. Not just myself – I raised six children, worked full time and never once had to ask for help. When I first retired, I retired on a small subsistence farm where I live to this day. I spent years selling rugs I wove and wool I spun, and for a long time it gave me enough money to live on. But when the recession hit people no longer had money to purchase my goods, and I really haven’t been able to recover since then.
I consider myself a very resourceful person, and I do what I can to provide for myself. I have chickens that give me eggs and I grow a lot of my own vegetables – but I still need more food than that to help me stay healthy and strong. When business first went south, I was struggling, but I didn’t want to ask for help. There came a point however, when I had to choose between buying food and paying for heat. Winters in New England get very cold – there’s a wind chill of -11 today – so I put my pride aside and went to my local food pantry.
The people at the food pantry made asking for help easy. They were respectful and they truly cared. I now rely on the food pantry to help supplement the food I can grow and the little can afford to buy. Without its help, I just wouldn’t have all the food that I need.
It’s not easy to admit you need a helping hand when you’ve lived an independent life for decades. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from visiting the food pantry, it’s that I’m not the only one who struggles. There are so many people going through the same things I am, and everybody – in one way or another – has rough times. It’s very, very comforting to know that I have my friends at the food pantry to help lift me up when I fall and enable me to not only get through – but also enjoy – my golden years.