I’ve worked my whole life. I’m a Marine Corps veteran and was a concrete finisher for 30 years. Work makes me feel good — like I’ve accomplished something and helped someone at the end of the day. It was truly devastating when one day I woke up and couldn’t move my shoulders without extreme pain. The doctors said they could help me manage the pain, but I’d never be able to work again.
Living on a fixed, disability income is a struggle. My wife, Deb, works full time as an inventory specialist, but even with her income we barely make ends meet. Right now we live with our daughter, Jessica, her three young sons and Deb’s mother-in-law, Jerry. Jessica works full time and Jerry is retired. It takes all of us pooling what we have just to make a rent. After the bills are all paid, there’s hardly enough left over to buy food.
That’s why we’re so grateful for the pantry. It helps so much, it’s just amazing. Without it, I’m not sure we’d have enough to feed us all. We’d have to skip meals so that our grandsons could eat. We’d definitely wouldn’t have the quality of food we have now, that’s for sure. The pantry gives us good, healthy food and together with the food bank — Second Harvest Inland Northwest — it teaches the kids how to cook that food as well. My grandchildren often go to cooking classes at Second Harvest after school to learn how to make delicious meals with fresh fruits and vegetables.
We may not have a lot right now, but I believe that you can give back even if you are in need yourself. I’m an avid volunteer at the pantry; I distribute food to my neighbors who need it but aren’t able to get it themselves. And Deb helps manage a community garden right next door. Its harvest helps feed our family and we donate any extras to the pantry. It makes us feel good to help, and I hope that when our grandkids grow up, they do the same. I hope we’ve been an example that no matter your situation, you can still give back.