‘I wish I had gone sooner.’

August 31, 2021

Food Bank’s Healthy Pantry Center reaches struggling seniors, working poor

Like most of our neighbors who reach out to the Food Bank of Delaware, Suzie – not her real name – doesn’t like to ask for help. She’s a tough, hard-working woman who has always dealt with life’s challenges on her own terms. But recently, she and her husband started feeling overwhelmed because food insecurity is just one of the issues they face.

Suzie is 65 years old, has survived cancer twice, and continues to work as an attendant at one of the state’s casinos. Her husband, who’s disabled and receives palliative hospice care, is no longer able to work. He receives his Social Security benefits, but their ongoing and long-standing medical bills consume most of the household income.

“Once you have situations, simple things like food become a burden,” she said. “I was out of work for weeks because of COVID, and my husband – he’s handicapped and on oxygen – got laid off. We could have probably fought it, but he didn’t want to,” Suzie said.

“I have never gotten help from anybody my whole life, and I’ve had a tough life,” she said. Even when a friend suggested Suzie seek assistance from the Food Bank of Delaware, there’s was some reluctance: Suzie’s not only tired, she’s a private person who simply lacked the energy to explain to anyone why they needed food. When she visited our Newark site to pick up their food box, she was pleasantly surprised that she only needed to show proof that they were Delaware residents.

“We stayed in our car, and a young man stepped up and said ‘I see your need. We are here to help Delaware residents.’ He could see my husband is on oxygen, and there was no judgment, no forms,” she said. “It was so nice – less invasive, and we talked to somebody real. He made me feel comfortable. He wanted to help. I wish I had gone sooner.”

Like many of us, privacy is very important to Suzie. While’s she’s returned to work, her salary doesn’t cover the payments for past medical bills or her husband’s ongoing prescriptions. “People just don’t realize the truth of how much money goes out with a chronically ill person, how much money you have to spend. The reality is that I to work, and the bottom line doesn’t show how much money has to go out with a chronically ill person. Our situation hasn’t been questioned. It’s simple and peaceful and safe. They bring the food out to you in a shopping cart. Thank goodness for the Food Bank.”

If you are in need of food, please click here to find a distribution option that suits your personal situation.

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