After Irene picked up a box of food from a Food Bank kids’ meal distribution, her 4-year old daughter couldn’t wait to get home to eat a snack. She picked an apple out of the box right away.
Irene’s children love the fruit that comes in the boxes. They have even discovered new foods they like. Her 10-year old son tried sweet red peppers for the first time when she received them at a food distribution. Now, he eats red peppers like they are apples, Irene said. Getting these boxes of food is a new experience for Irene’s family.
She and her husband both worked and were able to provide for their four children—all between the ages of 8 months to 16-years old. When the pandemic began, Irene lost her job and she has been having trouble finding another one. With less income coming into the household, the family began struggling to make ends meet.
Summer has made it even tougher. With all her kids back at home for the summer and an 8 month old to care for, Irene has decided to pause her job search. Summer childcare would cost more than what she would earn. Additionally, the increased summer utility bills have stretched their budget to the limit. For the first time, the family had to look for help to put food on the table.
“I wasn’t in need, so I didn’t need to look for help. Until you find yourself in need, that’s when you start looking for help,” she said.
What she found was a Food Bank kid’s meal distribution site near her daughter’s school. Each week she gets a box of fresh meals, with fruit, snacks and milk. All she has to do is make it even easier for her kids to eat the food.
“It’s a good thing that my kids aren’t picky. They like everything. As long as you peel it and make it look nice and ready. If they see the unpeeled oranges or the entire orange, it’s not too attractive for them but we figure it out,” Irene said.
In addition to the kids’ meals, Irene has also received help at other pantry distributions. The food she receives from the Food Bank has helped her supplement her groceries, save money and her children are tasting new vegetables for the first time. Beets have now become a snack for her kids and Irene now includes kale in her vegetable soup.
Thanks to the Food Bank, Irene has been able to cook healthy meals for her children, so that they can enjoy their summer break. Her children love going to the library during the summer. In the past, she has taken her children to every public library in Austin. She hopes to do the same this year, along with trips to the pool and parks.
“Thank you, thank you for helping us. Please continue to help those of us who are in need. Thank you very much,” Irene said.
The Food Bank is a lifeline for families like Irene’s especially during the summer when even more families face hunger. This summer we need your help. Give families like Irene’s a shot at a happy summer. Thanks to The Roomie Group, your most generous summer gift will be MATCHED, up to $300,000!