Meet Andy: A Healthy Pantry Center Story

October 31, 2019

Individuals and families who visit the Healthy Pantry Center (HPC) in Newark come from all walks of life and experience a variety of challenges. A common thread that unites them – all clients who visit the Healthy Pantry Center are treated with respect and dignity.

Andy comes to the HPC to pick up groceries for his sober-living home. In recovery, Andy lives with seven other men in an Oxford House in Wilmington.

He learned about the Healthy Pantry Center through a case worker at Recovery Intervention.  Andy is thankful for the pantry. Prior to learning about the HPC, he was using his disability money to purchase food for his entire house, because he does not qualify for SNAP benefits.

Andy worked for 40 years. For most of his career he did sheet metal work as a welder, but got caught up in a lifestyle fueled by cocaine, heroin and alcohol.

“I was seven years in recovery when I got my house,” he explained. “Then I went back three fold. I was drinking, I was snorting cocaine, I was snorting heroin, which led to shooting heroin. I was going to work as a functioning addict and then I started stealing. I got fired. I was out ready to kill myself and then I had an accident in my car.”

His addiction led to him losing his job, house, family and freedom.

Andy spent time in jail after his car accident.

Sober now, Andy is working hard on his recovery and digging out of debt from five pay-day loans that he took out.

“If I can get my credit rating up, I can get my own place. That’s my goal,” he says.

He does not have contact with his family and explains, “They set very rigid boundaries and it’s okay to set boundaries and it’s okay to say ‘no you can’t see us.’ I believe in time, they will change their mind.”

Andy takes life one day at a time and after 40 years of smoking, he is proud that he quit thanks to help from the Delaware Quitline and the pulmonary department at Christiana Care.

He does the cooking for his group home and as he was waiting for his turn to shop the shelves of the Healthy Pantry Center, he was eying a box of lasagna noodles for dinner that night. Having the opportunity to choose foods at the HPC is helpful for him considering he has multiple health conditions including coronary artery disease. At only 57 years old, he’s had two open heart surgeries.

In addition to nonperishable goods, Andy also likes the opportunity to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables from the pantry. He is thankful that he can utilize the Healthy Pantry Center without judgement for his past.

Are you in need of food assistance or know someone in need of help?

The Healthy Pantry Center is open at the Newark facility for Delawareans needing assistance. The hours are:

  • Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (last shopper at 3:00 p.m.)
  • Third Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (last shopper at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Second Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to noon (last shopper at 11:30 a.m.)

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