May is Older Americans Month and we’re proud to serve older adults throughout our community.
For Diem, our distribution at Gus Garcia Recreation Center gives her a chance to serve the older adults that attend the distribution.
Diem is not there for herself; she picks up food for her mother-in-law who is too ill to attend the distribution.
Her mother-in-law is 82 and has a heart condition and severe kidney problems. Diem takes her to the doctor three times a week to get dialysis, which takes about four hours. However, when there are complications, they can be at the hospital for an entire day.
With constant trips to the doctor, the food Diem picks up at the distribution is exactly what her mother-in-law needs.
The site is one of our Commodity Supplemental Food Program distributions. Each month, recipients get to take home a 25 to 30 pound box of food filled with groceries specially selected to meet the nutritional needs of older adults over 60.
For Diem, that means she can prepare food and snacks for her mother-in-law to take on her doctor visits.
“It helps her a lot. She takes the peanut butter to dialysis and I tell her to share with the other lady at dialysis because she doesn’t have anything,” Diem said.
Though her mother-in-law is in a very fragile condition and the family is taking it day by day, Diem has noticed an improvement in her health thanks to the food she is receiving from the Food Bank.
“It helps her a lot, with all the cheese and stuff,” Diem said. “I cook macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and stuff like that for her because I want her to eat American food so she will be healthier. Before she looked kind of weak, but now she looks good.”
Though Diem takes care of her mother-in-law 24 hours a day, she makes time to help the older adults in her community. Diem had a tough childhood and knows what it’s to have nothing. Now she fills her heart with joy by serving the older adults at the distribution and has become so close to the attendees that she now calls grandma and grandpa.
She is the unofficial volunteer at the site and helps with everything she can. As one of the few attendees who speak English, she has become the Vietnamese-English translator.
For attendees who are not able to carry the heavy box of food, she is their muscle as she carries the box to their car or inside the recreation center for those who wait for the bus. At times, she even runs to catch the bus for some older adults while carrying the box.
“My life is for them, it’s not for me now. I don’t take anything for myself,” Diem said. “I would like to thank you, from all my old grandmas and grandpas, for the food because they are very lonely and this helps them a lot,” Diem said.