Joe arrives at the Food Bank distribution for the first time not knowing what to expect. He gets in the first row of cars, towards the end. It’s still dark outside and the sun won’t be up for some time. Despite the Food Bank’s distribution starting at 8 a.m., Joe arrives at the Toney Burger Center at 6 a.m. In two hours, the bustling will begin.
“I got here at 6. This line was already up to here, right here, but that’s fine. I’m willing to do this if it’s going to put food on the table for my family, I’m willing to do this,” Joe said.
Joe had seen the news about the Food Bank’s distributions for weeks, but he thought the services were only available for individuals receiving state benefits. It wasn’t until his brother told him that the distributions were open to everyone that Joe decided to get help. With his tight budget, Joe only wished he had been able to attend the previous distributions.
Like many other Central Texans affected by COVID-19, Joe’s family has been struggling to make ends meet. Though he’s able to work from home, his wife has been furloughed and she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to go back to work.
“We were comfortable with two incomes, but now we’re struggling with one income trying to pay all the bills and put food on the table and all that,” Joe said.
The family has tried to stretch their budget by cutting down on unnecessary expenses and getting help from family and friends. Despite their efforts, Joe worries about providing his active 5-year old with nourishing meals.
“For a 5-year old, it doesn’t concern him that we’re in a pandemic. He just wants to play around and just be physical and run around everywhere, so my job is to make sure he gets fed,” Joe said.
At the grocery store, the family has to be cautious with their budget. That means leaving some food items behind.
“My pantry is not full. It just needs a lot of things. It needs the basics. Things like before where my wife would make sure that the child is getting vegetables, that’s the things that we need, vegetables, the main food groups,” Joe said. “Now we have to worry about, how are we going to get this or how are we going to get that.”
As Joe’s wife waits to go back to work, Joe is doing what he can to support his family, even if that means turning to the Food Bank for the first time. Once he goes through the Food Bank’s distribution, he will be taking home: milk, frozen chicken, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, potatoes and corn.
“It makes me grateful and it makes me happy that I don’t have worry about how am I going to put food on the table. It just helps out. It makes me very grateful and I’m just happy,” Joe said.
Many Central Texans like Joe are struggling to put food on the table during the pandemic. With a 220 percent increase in individuals getting help from the Food Bank for the first time, we need your help to meet the growing demand.
Thanks to Redbud Advisors, your gift will be TRIPLED up to $61,500 through July 23. Help provide TRIPLE the meals by donating today.