Kim and Griffin
When Kim had her son, Griffin, now two years old, she knew she wanted to stay home and raise him. Without the safety net of child support, this single mom started her own in-home childcare business to pay the bills. But times were tough in her neighborhood and only one family signed up for Kim’s childcare services, leaving her with an income of only $5 an hour. Between the services at Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the food stamp program and WICK, a federal nutrition program, Kim pieced it together for a year and a half.
Now, Kim is a substitute teacher at a local preschool, where she makes double what she was bringing in before. But her paycheck isn’t reliable enough to make ends meet consistently. She still comes to the Food Shelf to help her and Griffin through the leaner months. “I’m always amazed at the healthy options at the Food Shelf,” says Kim. “Griffin loves the fruit we get here!”
Only 3 classes from finishing her bachelors from Johnson State College, Kim is thankful to have the Food Shelf as a resource while she pursues her dream of attaining a master’s degree in counseling.
Robert worked as a repairman for thirty years. Around his sixtieth birthday, he started to have back pain on a regular basis. Eventually, the pain became so excruciating that Robert was forced to retire. After many years of shuttling back and forth to doctor after doctor, Robert was finally diagnosed with a bone pinching nerve in his back. Although there is no cure, he has learned to live with the pain that severely limits his mobility and causes him to be homebound.
In May of 2008, Robert joined the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf’s Homebound Delivery program. Receiving a five day supply of groceries once each month helps Robert stretch his food dollars farther, but what really gets him through the month is the visit from Food Shelf staff and volunteers. Robert lives with his brother, but doesn’t get many other visitors. So each time he sees the Food Shelf folks, Robert gets tears in his eyes, thankful for their time, company and generosity.
Jerry moved to Vermont 12 years ago from New York in search of a better life. When he first arrived he had trouble finding stable work, so his cousin brought him to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf for the morning hot meal. “The staff at the food shelf is so friendly, they are always willing to help,” Jerry says. “They are great neighbors.”
These days, Jerry is working odd jobs at Labor Ready and trying to make ends meet. He has been staying in a local shelter until he saves enough money to get his own place. Whenever Jerry doesn’t have work, he still joins the food shelf community for breakfast during the week.
Ashley and her husband have two beautiful girls, ages 6 and 4. Living in an apartment in Jericho, Ashley is a stay-at-home mom and her husband works for a local landscaping company. Winter is the hardest for Ashley and her family. Her husband doesn’t get many hours of work during the coldest months and with the added cost of a heating bill, sometimes they have trouble making ends meet.
“We do the best we can,” says Ashley. “But the cost of gas and food keep going up, and wages aren’t keeping up.” She comes to the food shelf to get staples for her family when times are tough. Initially, Ashley explains that she was ashamed to receive food assistance. She felt badly that as a parent, she couldn’t provide everything her daughters needed to stay healthy and full. But, “the staff and volunteers are phenomenal” Ashley raves, “they always make you feel welcome and they make you understand that you shouldn’t feel bad about coming here. They are here to help.”
The good news for Ashley and her family- her husbands hours are about to double with spring just around the corner. In the meantime, they take it one day at a time, turning to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf to help them through the long Vermont winter.
* In order to protect the privacy of our clients, the photos used on this page are stock photography.